Grown-ups love the way Ben Stiller brings out the kid in us, but the father of two (Ella, 7, and Quinlin, 4) also has lots of pint-size fans, thanks to the animated Madagascar flicks and Night at the Museum 1 and 2.
Ben Stiller
Credit: Splash News

Parents: First off, make us laugh.

Ben: Ah, no pressure ... Story of my life.

P: Okay, but the funny gene runs in your family. Your kids must have a blast with the grandparents [Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller].

B: Our kids have big personalities and really enjoy hanging out with my parents, and there's this wonderful back-and-forth. My dad will tell stories and do characters. He loves being a grandfather, but he doesn't want to be called "Grandpa." My kids call him Mr. Kineeche. I don't know why -- they make up silly names and they stick. So when he comes over, he announces himself: "Mr. Kineecheee is heeeeeere!" in some weird accent.

P: Why should parents take their kids to see Night at the Museum 2?

B: The first one had such a crazy ensemble cast of characters that when the idea for the second came up -- to go to the Smithsonian -- I felt we could do some new things and make it even funnier. And I can say we did that.

P: What's your dream Father's Day?

B: Sleeping late and hanging out with the family. And getting a tie. That's when you feel like you've actually become a dad -- when you get that official Father's Day tie. I did it for my dad for years. My kids are just getting to the tie age.

Movie Night at the Stillers'

  • Enchanted is Ella's favorite. The film's star Amy Adams, who's also in Night 2, threw a tea party for Ella and our director's three girls.
  • Cars is an obsession for Quin. Owen Wilson is a buddy of mine, so I'll ask him to call and leave a message as Lightning McQueen.

Originally published in the June 2009 issue of Parents magazine.

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