Last night, a bunch of my friends, all in college and thus purportedly adults, got together to watch Ben Stiller's comedic masterpiece Night at the Museum, in which hapless failed inventor Larry gets a job as a night watchman to impress his son from a failed marriage. (Paul Rudd appears, weirdly, as the ex-wife's new hubby, for about three scenes in which he gets zilch to do. I thought he had an actual career. Weird.)
Unfortunately, as we all know from the trailers, at the Museum of Natural History where Larry gets his job, a magical tablet brings everything to life at night. Larry spends much of the rest of the movie running around the museum wildly yelling things like "Ahhhh! Huns!", being shot with tiny flaming arrows by tiny Mayans, and feeding "gum-gum" to a large stone head that keeps calling him "dum-dum." Also, some lions chase him, and some surprise non-dead villains appear at the end to wreak even more havoc.
This was the kind of movie where you're sitting there going, "Oh, um, heh, that was kind of funny. Okay, so when is this over?" the entire time. Every time another night started we all groaned, feeling tricked since the title gives no indication that you have to sit through not one, but way too many nights at the museum. Nevertheless, certain things save the movie: Ben Stiller's boss, who is constantly being incoherently fretful in a ridiculous British accent and invents the inspired phrase "humor box," and a scene where Ben Stiller's mother plays an extremely disapproving lady at an employment office. Also, Larry's eventual resolution to the problem of Attila the Hun coming alive and wanting to rip his limbs off is classic.
Ben Stiller isn't terribly funny here -- think that episode of Friends where he played "The Screamer," who was over-the-top angry all the time and was much more shrill than comedic. But there are definitely some amusing moments, and I suppose if I'd been, you know, eight, or anywhere near the intended age demographic for this movie, I bet I would have enjoyed it.
In Summary: Recommended only if you're with your kids, you are a kid, or you combine with large quantities of beer.
Night at the Museum Drinking Game
1) Drink every time the movie is clearly trying to convince kids that doing research and learning about history is both fun and useful for real life.
2) Drink every time something happens that is so nonsensical that you don't really know how else you could react.
3) Two drinks for each instance of homoerotic subtext. You may think you're just imagining it at first, but you will be well and truly rewarded for your attention by the end.