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Night At The Museum
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This holiday season family comedy was a great disappointment to me. I'm a fan of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, and am rooting against hope that Robin Williams will once again discover how to be funny while on the wagon. The movie was all too typical of what passes for family comedy today- a slapped-together plot and premise, a pointless sequence of paranormal events, a few grumpy senior citizens talking naughty for laughs, and a fizzling, unsatisfied conclusion.

What really bothered me though was the setup of Stiller's main character. Like Ms. Doubtfire, the newest Typecast Du Jour was trotted out once again- Immature, unfocused husband divorced by fed up wife for failure to reach career potential, and is forced to transform and redeem himself in order to gain grudging respect from ex and access to his children, who share her low opinion of him. He's not a drunk, a cheater, a wife beater, or any other low life parody of a bad husband. He's simply not the caliber of the Wall Street stockbroker that ex wife deserves and has hooked up with. Seeing such man-hating stereotypes is depressing, and tends to reinforce them in the minds of the impressionable kids watching them.

I'm not asking for an "equal time trashing" of the numerous wives who've left marriages under far less than honorable conditions. There isn't much to be gained from that expose, and it probably wouldn't behoove (ouch) Hollywood to kick the sacred cows of Mom and Apple Pie at the boxoffice. All I'm asking is that the delicate and personal matter of failed marriages be approached with a certain amount of care and dignity, rather than using destructive negative stereotypes as comic foils for a quick buck. "Museum" chooses the low road, and shame on their thoughtlessness.

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