Night of the Museum is this year's Chicken Little. With the trailer played almost every time before a movie is screened, it's arguable that this is probably the most watched movie trailer for the year, with that T-Rex skeleton taking a sip from the water cooler, made the iconic scene for the film, taking over Chicken Little doing its rendition of "the running man". Given its marketing muscle, it'll work two ways - live up to its hype, or gets buried in it when it fails to deliver, given its continuous build up of expectations. Night at the Museum treaded dangerously close to the latter.
Fans of Ben Stiller, myself included, will definitely not miss this movie. There's this tinge of zaniness in his movies and characters, and most of his comedic films never fail to crack me up. I reckon at least one scene in every movie will have me ended up in stitches with tears rolling. Sadly, this was not to be for Night at the Museum. It's a pretty ordinary role about a very ordinary quitter, who can't seem to hold down a regular job, and is faced with losing respect from his son, now living with his estranged wife.
So as the story goes, he gets a job as the sole night watchman of the Museum of Natural History, and as you would already know, it's a kids fantasy as inanimate objects and statues all come to life when the sun goes down. At its heart, this is a children's movie, through and through, having caricatures for villains, and situations which are deemed very family friendly, which suits its target audience to a T.
It's filled with top notch special effects and costumes to bring history to life, but again it's nothing groundbreaking about it. The storyline is rather plain and almost buried itself under ultra predictable plot lines, which is a pity because it had some great supporting cast, like Robin Williams, who was surprisingly very muted and restrained, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Ricky Gervais, Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan, the latter two playing combative, bickering figures from different eras who are in constant battle for more territory.
To thoroughly enjoy this, bring along a kid, or allow the kid inside you some leeway to take over your emotions for a while. Otherwise, this movie will be a tad tough to sit through without constantly checking your watch. Hope the next Ben Stiller project will be much better, rather than resorting to spanking the monkey for laughs.