Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is an unemployed, divorced father of one child. His son Nick (Jake Cherry) is disappointed in him so in order to win his son's respect back, Larry decides to get a job at the local Museum. When gets the job of night watchmen at the Museum but notices something strange about the Museum. At night, all the exhibits come to life. Larry meets a statue of Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) who teaches Larry about how to maintain the Museum and keep the exhibits.
As I was writing the synopsis out, it dawned on me what one of the biggest problems is. Until the third act, there isn't really much of a plot. It's just an excuse to show off what they can do with the setting and premise (albeit, a very cool one), It may not sound like much but that's a significantly huge problem for a film to have. I will say that the premise is nice and enjoyable but I'm not sure if that justifies the lack of a real plot.
Ben Stiller is playing Ben Stiller, let's move on. The side characters are quite enjoyable to the film's credit. Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan make a likeable duo of cowboy and Roman with offers some excellent moments due to their tiny stature (they're tiny models) and Robin Williams is naturally enjoyable as Teddy Roosevelt. It's also nice to see Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney in a modern film so there's that too.
Night at the Museum is an enjoyable film with a cool premise in a nice setting with likeable characters and a great cast. The glaring problem though is the padding and lack of clear plot. It just seems like all it is doing is building up towards a sequel...a sequel that exists and I will probably review next. On it's own, however, it's flawed with nice things dotted around it.
While there are likeable characters and cast members with a good premise, the lack of a clear narrative sort of ruins it.