Director: Shawn Levy
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Robin Williams, Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke, Rami Malek
To kids museums are not the most exciting of places. But a dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do. When Larry’s son is too embarrassed to take him to career day, he realises that he needs a proper job and takes the position of night watchman. The old crew (and I mean old) of security is being downsized, leaving Larry the lonely job of minding the place on his own. After a quick crash course in how to run the nights proceedings Larry is given a book of instructions and left on his own.
The initial quiet is soon broken with the bounding of a hyperactive set of Tyrannosaurus bones, and soon Larry realises something very odd is happening. Soon he realises that everything in the museum comes to life after dark, and that the book is his manual in how to control all these crazy creatures. But something sinister is afoot, leaving Larry plenty of opportunity for a story to finish the movie.
Night at the Museum does exactly what it says on the tin, a Jumanji-esque caper, with plenty of decent special effects and comedy moments. Aimed squarely at kids, Stiller takes a more reserved approach form the likes of Dodgeball or Zoolander, content to let the more zany characters pick up the role of comic goon. And with Stiller, as usual, he handles it ably.
The really funny parts come courtesy of the miniature Roman (Steve Coogan) and his equally tiny cowboy buddy (Wilson). The constant bickering is pretty funny, nearly equalled by the attention needing Attila the Hun. Coogan in particular stands out for his maniacal dictator/chastised boy routine. As usual the weakest part is the love story, but I guess someone likes it so covering all angles they stick it in.
As a family movie you can’t go wrong, it has something for everybody. Funny and feel good, it may not be classic cinema, but it can’t be knocked. Kids will love it; I was instructed to give it five stars by Diarmuid, aged 12. Me being slightly older and more cynical, I’ll give it 3.