Fulsome Festive Fayre, 26 December 2006
Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom
There is a lot that is derivative about this movie. The plot is Toy Story / Small Soldiers / Jumanji/ Nutcracker Suite thrown together and shaken down. Ben Stiller does what he always does, there is snow at Christmas and a cherubic kid, with Carla Guggini for the Dads. But it works.
At 1 3/4 hours long it as at the edge of its welcome. But the plot is sufficiently well developed to carry you through (actually a coherent plot is quite welcome these days).
What makes this film though is a series of disciplined cameos which carry you through those moments of Stiller overload. Ricky Gervais is a wonderfully British Museum Director, Steve Coogan a wacky Roman General, Robin Williams a warm hearted Teddy Roosevelt and Owen Wilson plays a brief effective role as a Frontiersman. Couple this with a combative performance from Dick Van Dyke as a retiring guard with a grudge and you have just enough to keep you going for the duration.
Belly laughs are a bit thin on the ground, but try to keep a warm smile off your face and you will fail as a delightful, tight, limited plot unfolds.Fimly a children’s film but with enough to keep adults engaged and amused.