Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The movie, despite some lavish special effects, feels perfunctory and generic. Kids may well enjoy it (the 7-year-old with me giggled all the way through); adults may squirm.
The writers are content to let the magical beings simply run around and crash into things. I got a Jumanji headache about 30 minutes in.
Computer-generated things that go bump in the night can't cover for a thin story and less-than-inspired performances from Stiller and Williams.
Stiller's continued efforts to court the broadest possible audience has taken the edge off his comedy.
It's never too late to enjoy a little holiday fantasy, such as spending a Night at the Museum.
Night at the Museum, in fact, is stuffed with smart performers doing graciously silly work, and all [director Shawn] Levy has to do is manage traffic.
Los Angeles Times:
Cavemen and dinosaurs, cowboys and Roman soldiers, lions and zebras, all running amok, sounds like more fun than it is.
Though far less ambitious than Jurassic Park, Night at the Museum is also far less terrifying than Jumanji. It is happy where it is, and the audience I saw it with seemed to appreciate that.
Night at the Museum is not just a wild runaround of computer-generated creatures. Well, OK, that's mostly what it is. Still, there is something of a plot.
Dallas Morning News:
The special effects are a blast. The T-Rex skeleton looks authentic as it clatters down the hallway after a terrified Larry. But even better is the remarkable, star-studded ensemble.
Night at the Museum, based on a kids' book by Milan Trenc, is so wonderfully energetic it doesn't leave much time for questions.
A pea-brained fantasy-comedy with a riot of kid-pleasing special effects.
New York Daily News:
Really young kids may like the noise and chaos of the movie, but the real museum on Central Park West has its own 'A Night at the Museum' program that sounds a lot better.
Kids, supposedly too bored to go to such museums anymore (one of the film's messages, along with 'learn your history') should find this a Night to remember.
It might be fair to give Ben Stiller an 'A' for effort, but to call what he does in this movie "acting" is a misnomer. He does a lot of running around, occasionally falling down or bumping into things.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Like the institution it portrays, Night at the Museum comes alive after dark. It's a perfect movie to take the kids to. Who knows, it might even inspire them to want to visit an actual museum.
A film that veers, often without much direction, between a family-friendly comic romp and an attempt to touch our souls with heartfelt emotion.
Fun for the whole family? Probably not, but certainly for those members who are only permitted to hang out when the lawyers say it's okay.
If only family comedies would evolve and not assume that a good concept, convincing special effects and a strong cast automatically add up to fun.
Rarely has so much production value yielded so little in terms of audience engagement.
The first half-hour's too slow; the last half-hour's too manic, as if to compensate. But at least it entertains.
It's a fun ride, and the big payoff -- that history turns out to be way cooler than its reputation suggests -- is even more gratifying.