Friday, February 09, 2007

Hey, dum-dum. You got gum-gum?

Got back from a late-night showing of Night At the Museum.

It was certainly better than I had expected it to be, and probably even than it had any right to be. Ben Stiller plays Ben Stiller, and yet it works for this role. The effects are mostly subpar, yet that doesn't prove much of a nuisance. The story is kind of bland--mysterious Egyptian curse brings museum to life--and yet it works.

There are some serious problems with the movie to be sure, even if you push aside all of the overwhelming Ben Stiller silliness (look! he's slapping around a monkey!) and kids-movie trappings. The first two-thirds of the film seem to crawl at an unbearable pace, despite the fact that a whole load of stuff is bombarding the viewer's senses. Watching Ben Stiller's antics--primarily with the monkey, but also with the Mongols and others--can be laborious at times. The pacing is pretty god-awful.

Still, the movie is salvaged and made watchable by its final action sequences, in which the exhibits team together in spite of their differences to take on a common enemy. All of the lame set-up somehow comes together beautifully, and even the things you could see coming from a mile away are exciting and fun.

Also entertaining in the film--surprisingly so--are the all-star supporting cast members. Usually, I find Robin Williams and Owen Wilson unbearable (at least in their all-out comedy modes). Somehow, though, these actors provide most of the laughs in the film and become slightly endearing. Robin Williams, playing Stiller's waxen mentor Theodore Roosevelt, somehow manages to exude a sort of quiet dignity despite the fact that he falls back upon his regular stand-by spastic act in several places. Wilson's mischievous repartee with Steve Coogan's Roman sentinel is the best part of the film, and despite the fact that the characters follow just about every action movie cliche in their archs, they make the film in the end.

Is the film worth seeing? Meh, if you get around to it. It's unremarkable, unmemorable, and all-around okay. Still, you could do worse with your night.

No comments: