Today’s Prayer Focus

Night at the Museum

MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for mild action, language and brief rude humor.

Reviewed by: Maggie Hays

Moral Rating: Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Kids Family
Genre: Family Kids Comedy Fantasy Adaptation
Length: 1 hr. 48 min.
Year of Release: 2006
USA Release: December 22, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
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Featuring Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Kim Raver, Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke, Bill Cobbs, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais
Director Shawn Levy — “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “The Pink Panther,” “Just Married”
Producer Chris Columbus, Stephen Sommers, Bob Ducsay
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Trademark logo.
20th Century Studios
, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company

“Everything comes to life.”

Sequels: “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” (2009), “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” (2014)

This is meant to be a family film, and is safe to take the kids to see. The film begins with Larry (Ben Stiller) trying to find a job. He, obviously, has had many jobs and is having trouble sharing custody of his son because of his undependable life situation. Larry gets hired as the night security guard at the Museum of Natural History, where he is told “don’t let anything IN or OUT.” What he doesn’t realize is that everything comes alive at night. (“Lock up the lions or they will eat you”).

One thing that I found objectionable was Mickey Rooney’s character—a crotchety old security guard losing his job as Larry is hired. He likes to call people names. No profanity is used, but I noticed the little boys in the theatre laughed at his ill-temper and name-calling, and you may want to discuss this with younger children before letting them see this movie. Rude behavior is modeled here, and you may not want your little boys to copy it. One exhibit repeatedly calls Larry “Dum Dum.”

This movie reminded me a little of the old “Three Stooges” films, full of slapstick. There is even a scene where Larry and a monkey have a confrontation and continually slap each other across the face. Again, the little boys in the audience thought this was great fun, and you may not want your little boy to copy this behavior. There is an attempt at innuendo that went right over most kids’ heads, as a cowboy exhibit says “My impotent situation is that my guns won’t fire,” as he is without bullets and can’t fight the Romans. There is an Egyptian artifact that brings everything to life each night; some people might be offended by this kind of mysticism.

I do not recall hearing any foul language, other than crudities like “pee” when a monkey urinates on Larry. There was no sex or nudity. At one point Rebecca (Carla Cugino), a docent at the Museum who befriends Larry, profanes God’s name when she is shocked by the situation (“Oh my GD!”).

The movie is well-made and full of special effects. This film reminded my family of “Indian in the Cupboard.” My favorite thing about the movie is Alan Silvestri’s excellent music score.

While there are no religious references of any kind in this story, there are some good values portrayed, as Larry helps the exhibits in their various trials, showing that he cares about them. (He helps the cavemen have fire, plays fetch with the T-Rex, tries to get the Union and Confederate troops to stop fighting in the Civil War exhibit, and helps Rebecca meet Sacagawea, about whom Rebecca is writing a dissertation.) We also see Larry’s relationship with his son strengthen as his son develops new respect for his father.

My guess is that, after seeing this film, a lot more kids will want to visit museums.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—Great family movie. There is one bad word when Ben calls the Monkey a Smart A**. It was really quick, and many missed it. I agree with the review as stated on the site. Great movie!!
My Ratings: Good / 4½
Kevin, age 37
Positive—…a wonderful movie; gave me the desire to go to the museum myself. Everything was cool in the movie until Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams) mentioned evolution like it existed! …Such phrases included, “Who’s evolved; whose evolved?” (at the near end) and “…without them, there’s no us” (around the time of the monkey-Larry slap fight!) Other than that, I’d give it an A!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
Bruce H, age 19
Positive—We viewed this movie at a sneak preview and normally never do that without looking here first for a moral rating. We were thrilled to find that it was a great movie! The story line was a good one, the special effects were awesome and overall, the movie was a very clean movie. We took our children, ages 14 and 10, and they really enjoyed the movie. They were apprehensive at first because the previews they had seen made them think it might be scary but it wasn’t scary at all to them. The theme was one of perseverance and unity. I have already recommended this movie to others and would encourage anyone to see it.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
Julia Matthews, age 38
Positive—This was a PERFECT, fun movie for kids. Mine—9, 11, and 13—enjoyed it greatly, as did I. It was on par with “National Treasure” for wholesomeness and movie making quality. It was silly, but still classy. One “kiss-a**” was the only obscenity. I hear Stiller made this movie for (his) kids to see, and he did a good job. I agree that it promoted a message of persistence and unity.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Joel, age 40
Positive—“Night at the Museum” was a very fun holiday movie. …the few negative things the reviewer listed aren’t really a big part of the movie. …Overall, I really enjoyed this film and recommend it as a fun family movie. Steve Coogan and Owen Wilson were the best as Jed and Octavius, the miniature leaders in the diorama room of the museum.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3½
Caleb, age 26
Positive—I was surprised that Ben Stiller could make such a clean movie! I kept holding my breath during the movie, waiting for it to get ugly, but it never did. It was a fun, clean, family-friendly movie that all my kids enjoyed (ages 10, 6 and 4). There was one objectionable word, by my count, and a few instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain. There weren’t even very many gross-out jokes that most movies of this sort inevitably resort to.

I would definitely recommend it. Even the action sequences weren’t scary or even very suspenseful—just magical and fun.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3½
Shelly, age 34
Positive— When the movie first started I didn’t think I was going to be impressed or all that entertained. It started off kind of slow and with a lot of personal pitfalls on Ben Stiller’s character. I want to be entertained, not depressed! Then, once he started the job at the museum and the T-Rex comes to life, I thought it might be a little scary for our 9 year old daughter. However, not only did she not seem afraid, but it quickly turned humorous. Ben’s character started developing a plan to deal with the live displays and not only was it funny, but by the end of it the conflict was resolved with team work.

Our daughter as well as my husband and I all laughed out loud several times, and we came out of the theater talking about it and laughing. Our daughter said she wanted to see it again, so we said we’d buy it when it came out on DVD and she said “Well, yeah!” Like that wasn’t even a question.

The only things that some may find objectionable is the fact that Ben and his wife are divorced, and his ex-wife has a fiance. They share custody of their son. Also, there is mild violence with some of the displays in the movie, but it is all comical, and a monkey pees on Ben. Lastly, we heard there was some mild language offensives, but if that is true we must have been too caught up in the movie action to notice. I asked my husband if he noticed any bad words in the movie, and he said he didn’t recall any.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
Angela, age 35
Positive—Surprisingly good for a Ben Stiller movie. “Night At The Museum” was exciting and fun. It is also the second holiday film about fathers being a role model for their kids. In a surprising twist, the elder veteran comedians (Dick Van Dyke, Bill Cobbs, and Mickey Rooney) turn in some scene stealing acts. Like most kids flicks, there are some bodily function jokes, some instances use of profanity (one or two) and sexual innuendoes which will fly right over the kids head. After the movie, some kids will want to go to a museum and read up on their history, which the movie suggested.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Mang Yang, age 34
Positive—…the movie was fun and every kid’s dream to have things come alive at night. I thought that it was pretty clean and although there was at least to comments made regarding us evolving from the monkey. Also I agree that the three old night guards seem to have gotten away un punished for their evil plan …except for becoming janitors. It still was a lot of fun to watch. A great family movie.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
Sharon, age 46
Positive—I was really looking forward to this movie, and I wasn’t disappointed. Not only did it have a positive message in terms of family and father son relationships, but it also had a wonderful message about the value of history (I can totally see kids getting very interesting in history simply because of this movie). The visuals were great, but now a-days visuals are always great, so a movie can’t simply rely on great computer graphics alone to hold a movie together. It needs a great script, good acting, great action, funny dialogue and, if it’s a kid’s movie, enough references to things that an adult would get so that they’re not completely bored out of their skull. Let me tell you, this movie has it all.

With references to “Quest for Fire” (a 1981 movie featuring cavemen who lose their fire), actors like Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney, the guy who played the main character in the original British “The Office” (who’s hilarious because he never finishes a sentence but expects everyone to understand what he’s saying) and of course Robin Williams who plays Teddy Roosevelt. Then there’s the terrifying T-Rex walking around chasing the main character, the Huns who want to tear his arms and legs off, the monkey who keeps steeling his keys, and the lions who simply want to eat. Come to think of it, this movie has a lot to do with conflict resolution as well.See all »
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
Nathan R. Carlsen, age 25
Positive—I read the review and took my two preschoolers to see it. There were a few morally-bumpy places in the movie, but overall it was a great experience. We all laughed out loud several times. It was an action movie that was safe for small kids. My son loves history and when the tiny Romans came alive and attacked Larry he loved it. My daughter loved the animals and wants to know more about Teddy Roosevelt.

The messages in the movie weren’t Christian, but they were generally positive. Teamwork, friendship and perseverance are valuable traits. This movie demonstrated those things. Yes, there is some gross out humor, like the monkey who peed on Larry. There was also a moment when Larry tells one of the characters not to be a “kiss-ass.” I can’t defend those things. But those things gave me a chance to talk to my kids about what is proper to say and do and what isn’t. If your kids can handle this, don’t take them. If they can, you will get an action treat.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Alan Lehmann, age 38
Positive—Me and my husband went and saw this. Before we went, I had seen a review that pretty much slammed the movie for its movie quality. I never put stock in what the Hollywood types say, and this time was no different. It was such a nice surprise. Me and my husband were pleasantly surprised at how cute this movie was. It was a nice change to be able to go to a movie and not have to worry about cussing, nudity, violence (as normal Hollywood is), etc. I didn’t like that Ben Stiller’s character and the monkey kept slapping each other. In some places the slapstick was too much. …it dragged on way too long. I did like how Ben’s character got Attila the Hun to confront his inner feelings—very funny! This is a great movie to take a teen or pre-teen to (w/ some parental guidance). Great movie!
My Ratings: Good / 4
Rebecca Auble, age 33
Positive—This is the best movie my family and I have seen in a long time. There is nothing offensive in it. We laughed through the whole thing! The cleanest movie Ben Stiller has been in. I recommend it for all Christians of all ages as a very entertaining way to spend a couple of hours.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
Anita, age 40+
Positive—The movie was pretty good. I liked all the actors since you could pick them from other movies/tv shows. I found it took a bit to get into the plot of the story. But once you are into the story I, myself, felt like I was a part of the story. Now I did not like the few swearing parts there were, but it was not more uncommon then what is in other movies and on TV. But, overall, the moral was that the dad figured out what he wanted with his life. Got a steady job made peace with his son and ex wife. Then on top of that it makes me want to go find a few more interesting Museums to go see myself.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3½
Amy Noble, age 22
Positive—I took 3 of our children to see this movie today. It was a good movie, with a good ending. It had some slow parts that seemed repetitive and I began to tire for a few minutes… BUT then when the “bad guys” got involved, I felt the movie pick up and I enjoyed it to the last minute. This is definitely a kids’ movie. I love Ben Stiller, but this movie, was not his best I believe. I recommend this movie for families with kids… it has nothing impure, no drugs, no language… it’s something disney would put out. Have fun.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Claire Guthrie, age 37
Positive—I went with my 5 ½ year old grandson (with his mother’s permission—she had reviewed it first). He was entertained, and I felt it was one of the few movies out there worth seeing. I asked him several times if he were scared, and he said no, he knew it was just make believe. I wish they had left out the word “ass”—it so easily could have had another word in it’s place. But, with all the garbage Hollywood puts out for sale these days, I was truly impressed that a good movie CAN be made! I think children deserve to see more “happily ever after’s” in movies.

It shows a family (either separated, or divorced) can work together—both parents put their child first. I go to the movies about once every 2 years, because I refuse to support most of the movies put out these days. I felt like this movie deserves to be supported, in hopes more good movies will come our way.
My Ratings: Good / 5
Cynthia, age 58
Neutral—“Night at the Museum” was a rather impressive film from a visual standpoint. The special effects are incredibly good for the most part. The story is creative and overall the movie has a positive message. I recall one swear word, where Larry tells the miniature Octavius not to be a kiss a**. My only real concern with the movie, and what stops me from giving it a positive rating, is the method by which the museum exhibits come to life. Everything that remotely resembles a living creature comes to life at night, be it stuffed animal, mannequin, statue or mummy.

The cause of this is an ancient tablet in an Egyptian temple exhibit that arrived at the museum 50 years earlier. We don’t ever quite find out why the tablet does this. We do, however, find out that there is some sort of spell inscribed on the tablet. One of the characters utters an incantation over the tablet that causes the tablet to glow and something magical to happen. That said, the movie is largely clean, save the one swear word and one character saying “Oh my G*d” which may offend some.

The story is engaging and the visuals stunning, my only concern was the tablet itself, and it’s clearly magical powers to bring the exhibits to life and to some extent control them.
My Ratings: Good / 5
Timothy, age 25
Neutral—OK, I’m disappointed for a number of reasons! Again another Hollywood blockbuster trailered to the hills, and every child I know was excited and counting the days until Christmas, so they could see this movie in its entirety! I suppose a holiday-hyped film is destined to disappoint, and, for me personally, this was true much of the time. With so many well-known actors playing such great characters, the storyline was somewhat thin and sketchy and the director missed some good opportunities as his goal seemed to be to only show as many special effects as he could in a short time. It was “Jumanji” all over again or “Indian in the Cupboard.

I have to admit, I instantly wanted to like so many of the characters, though… the charming son, the very beautiful female docent-researcher, the three eccentric night guards, the wax characters like Teddy Roosevelt, Genghis Kahn, Sacagawea, the cave men, Jedadiah the cowboy and Octavius the centurion, plus the assorted fabulous stuffed animals. Let’s not forget, “Go fetch” T-Rex, but it was all so predictable at times. I guess the dinosaur was a surprise and there’s a twist with Dick Van Dyke’s character, but the monkey, Dexter was a bit creepy and in one monkey-slapping scene there is a blatant outspoken reference to masturbation, which children will thankfully miss, and a “firing blanks” reference to impotence later. There was the usual potty humor played out this time with the monkey urinating on Ben Stiller.

By the end I was thinking, “Alright Larry, your son is impressed, as are his friends from school, the girl likes you, let’s all end this mayhem with happy ever after,” but suddenly it was over with no kiss, no promise of a stable family life for father and son, no real punishment for the bad guys; the British director keeps his job despite being unpopular and unlikable, and all you’re left with is the possibility of a bad sequel. Overall, it could have been really great, but it was just another “B” movie in the end.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Christopher Winter, age 51
Neutral—This movie has the cleanest, least objectionable language for a PG movie so far this year, much better than the PG-rated “Open Season,” for example. Unfortunately, it is boring, but not because it is clean. It is boring because it does not know if it is a stand-up comedy or slapstick, and it drags because of it. The movie becomes interesting in the last third when it decide it is slapstick it starts to pick up. But, if you saw the trailers, you saw the best parts. The theater was almost empty when my 15 year old daughter and I saw it. So while we were amused, it was hard to hear if there was any other laughter.
My Ratings: Average / 3
Bill Walters, age 58
Neutral—Overall, it was a good show. It had a lot of references to evolution—the monkey and the Neanderthals. It also had a subtle Secular Humanism theme: The main character stands as the Giant voice of reason over the miniature warring cowboys and Romans. He explains that they both want what is best for their people and getting along is that very thing. The primitive nature of the combating Huns and other peoples are, likewise, brought under control. The implication throughout the movie is that man is capable and expected to rise above his primitive nature. Mankind, the Huns, are not bad people. They were just taught to act badly through a bad environment. Therefore, if you can change the environment you can change the behavior; you can negotiate with tyrants because love, not war, is the answer to our problems. Museum consistently refers to evolution and suggests that if we do not get it together we will become extinct like the Neanderthal who evaporated when he came in contact with sunlight.
My Ratings: Average / 5
Ron Suarez, age 41
Negative—While the movie overall is not particularly offensive, it makes light of the broken family. My kids (7) were not sure what to do with the boy whose dad has obviously been replaced by a societal upgrade. Parents who raise their kids to value the solid family unit should be prepared to do some explaining as to why this is portrayed in such a cavalier manner. Also, contrary to the site description, there is profanity in the scene where Larry pulls Octavios and Jed aside and tells Octavios “don’t be a kiss ###.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: none
Bill Sullivan, age 46 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—This movie was excellent! My family and I thought that it was a very good movie. It was hilarious and kept you on your toes because you never knew what the museum characters would do next! I was thrilled with the movies well developed plot, and the effects were awesome! This movie was so funny and I encourage people who like comedy and action movies to see it. There is some crude humor when the monkey urinated on the security guard, but the movie was very good at not having a lot of crude humor. There is no blood or gore in the movie, even the mummy is not disgusting and ugly. He is perfect and handsome, just as he was before he died! Overall, the movie was funny and exciting. I encourage families to see this movie. My family and I were very pleased with the movie’s plot!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
C.L., age 16
Positive—My father took me and my two brothers (ages 15 and 11) to see this movie. I was a little apprehensive about going to see it with my dad, because knowing Ben Stiller, his movies aren’t always the most clean, BUT I found nothing at all wrong with this movie. It was perfectly clean, and made me laugh and sit on the edge of my seat. I definitely recommend it!
My Ratings: Good / 4½
Cassie, age 14
Positive—this film was one of the best I have ever seen!!! My family and I went to see it, and we all agreed that this movie is great for all ages! There is NO bad language what-so-ever! and that is very rare to find these days. This film is worth every penny you spend to see it!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Amanda, age 15
Positive—This movie was absolutely hilarious. I was very surprised at how funny it was. The commercial to this movie does it no justice whatsoever. The special effects were awesome, the acting was good, and there was only one curse word in the whole movie. I would not suggest that you take you kids 6 and under to see this film, as some of this film is intense, and some images may frighten younger kids. I definitely recommend this film for anyone over 6.
My Ratings: Good / 5
Anthony, age 12
Positive—This movie is the best that I have seen in YEARS! I am VERY picky about movies, and this one made the cut. I loved the little people. It was unexpectedly funny. My parents were laughing so hard during the whole movie. I would recommend this film for kids 5 and up. I can’t wait to buy this DVD.
My Ratings: Good / 5
Jesse O, age 10
Positive—…a pretty good movie. I laughed most of the movie. I noticed that Teddy Roosevelt otherwise known as Robin Williams referred to evolution. Now that was the only real problem with this movie. Although I doubt most people even realized he had referred to it. This movie was unpredictable. I was really surprised at the ending. They had many famous actors and actresses in the film. I like this film. It had some good morals you could read into. My dad really liked this movie, too. I wouldn’t might spending a day at that museum!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
“Kat”, age 12
Neutral—I was very excited to come and view this film, but it ended up being boring and bad use of time and money. A lot of my friends found it fun and hilarious, as it is in some parts, but to be honest, it was slow and quite boring. The whole time I was waiting for it to get better, but it stayed at the same pace the whole time. I’m not saying that you won’t like it yourself, but to me, I thought it was a waste of time. The reason I am neutral, though, is because it is one of the cleanest movies out there. There is no profanity, sex scenes, etc. at ALL! The sad part is that because of that, this movie could have been incredible. It fell short, though, in my book.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3½
Alexis, age 14
Positive—This was a very funny movie and clean movie for the whole family… This was an interesting movie because it was original. Ben Stiller and the other actors did a great job acting their parts. I would recommend this movie to anyone.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
Warren, age 15
Positive—This movie was better than I thought. I heard a lot of talk about how it was boring, but it was actually pretty cool. There was only a few things I didn’t like. There is only ONE bad word. So in my opinion that’s better than most movies. And the second thing is the only reason they tell the main character not to fight with the monkey is because we supposedly evolved from them. Which is totally not true. But, overall, the movie was very good.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3½
Sarah, age 15
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. It was exciting and funny. The capuchin monkey, Dexter, was very entertaining, and you never knew what he was up to. I am planning on buying the movie when it comes out on DVD. It is a great movie!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Ellen, age 13
Positive—I thought this was an amazing movie. The acting was great and, for the most part, the jokes and everything were clean. I would rate this good, except that there are a couple of comments and swear words that I noticed, though not many at all. I loved the rivalry between the Cowboy and the Roman and how they resolved it at the end and became like best friends. There is a couple of quick mentions of evolution, such as, “who’s evolved, who’s evolved?” and “he’s your primate brother Larry, without him, there’s no us.” Also there was one or two swear words that I noticed. Other than that, It was awesome! I recommend this to anybody who likes a good laugh. It was HILARIOUS!!!…
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Rosemary, age 13
Positive—This movie was very clean! There were no questionable scenes or anything! By far, one of the best movies I’ve seen this whole year! It was funny and it kept me on the edge of my seat… of course, some of the stunts were corny (what do you expect from an old man doing karate?) Anyway’s, I recommend it to anybody! It’s great fun!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Samantha, age 12