Starring: Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino (the parole officer in Sin City), Dick Van Dyke, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, Audrey from 24, huge amounts of CGI and a monkey.
Story: Larry (Stiller) needs a steady job to impress his son and placate his ex-wife. All he can get is a night guard post at the Museum of Natural History. To his surprise, however, all the exhibits come alive at night and he has to keep the peace while making sure he doesn't get eaten. Some mildly amusing situations ensue...
Comments: I feel some condemnation with faint praise coming on. How about:
I managed to persuade the boys to watch this at teatime one day and it was a lot more enjoyable than the old Pokemon episodes they really wanted.
Yes, I think that covers it.
The first twenty minutes or so of scene-setting and character development are pretty superfluous. This film is really all about walking museum exhibits causing chaos and it doesn't get going until Larry starts his first shift. After that there's a decent mix of the kind of action and humour that fills TV schedules on bank holiday afternoons. The special effects are excellent but, then again, we expect nothing less these days.
The cast is full of famous faces padding out their CVs with a family film. Stiller puts in a commendable amount of effort but just is slightly irritating. Gugino does her best in an extremely generic love-interest role. Dick Van Dyke is simply glad to have some work. Coogan and Gervais are as annoying as always. Robin Williams is now made of schmaltz. The monkey out-acts most of them.
Not that the kids cared - they really enjoyed it. Sproglette needed some cuddles to see her through some of the more 'perilous' moments, though.
Conclusion: A decent film for children of primary school age but not a classic.
Technical wizardry: Plenty.