One of the most financially successful films of 2006 was oddly enough Night At the Museum. Not that the film was an awful one, but it was neither a highly anticipated sequel nor a summer blockbuster, so it kinda came out of nowhere. It is a simple story about a nightwatchman at a natural history museum in which the artifacts come alive at night. Ben Stiller is playing that goofy, awkward, loser character that he has played numerous times before and yet people still connected with it on a large scale.
Being divorced from his wife, Erica (Kim Raver – from television's 24), and only having visitation rights to see his son, Nick (Jake Cherry – Friends With Money), every second weekend is hard for Larry Daley (Ben Stiller – Zoolander, Meet The Parents). He is a struggling inventor who has to move often due to his lack of funds. When Erica finds out from Nick that Larry is 'moving' again she tells him that the situation is no good for Nick and that Larry cannot have him next weekend or until he finds himself in a more stable situation financially.
Larry is now desperate to find a job and so when he is sent to the Museum of Natural History on an interview he'll take whatever they offer him. The position that they offer to him is that of nightwatchman. He is hesitant but desperate so he agrees. He is shown the nuts and bolts of the place by the three watchmen on the day shift, Cecil (Dick Van Dyke), Gus (Mickey Rooney) and Reginald (Bill Cobbs – Random Hearts, Hope Floats). They are all in their senior years and the museum is not doing so well so in an effort to cut costs they are letting the three go.
His first night on the job, Cecil leaves Larry a bunch of sheets that he tells him are the instructions on how to do the job. Larry is confident he will not need the sheets and just proceeds to try and entertain himself through the night. Soon enough Larry learns that he will not need to come up with things to entertain himself throughout his shift as the museum itself will do that. And not the way you would think! The only question left is whether Larry is up to the task.
There are several entertaining cameos in the film from the likes of Robin Williams, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, and Owen Wilson. They provide plenty of laughs and hijinks. One of the good things about the film is that once the action starts it really kicks into high gear and keeps it up for pretty much the rest of the film. The laughs and special effects keep you distracted from the fact that there is not much of a story to it. But, hey, it's meant to be a fun family film, so kick back and take it for what it is.
-2 Audio Commentaries