The "Night at the Museum" franchise is a well-marbled combination of crowd-pleaser and box office success. While none of the entries in this series have reviewed anywhere near Academy Award level, there's no denying the draw of these family-friendly films.

This is actually my first "Night at the Museum" experience. Even though I was working at the Hays movie theatre when the first film came out in 2006, I never got around to seeing it -- or its 2009 follow-up. Even though I'm not typically a fan of Ben Stiller, I rather enjoyed "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb."

First and foremost, the film makes good use of special effects, costumes and set design. The production staff has done an admirable job representing the various creatures and historical figures that come to life each night with believable effects that are appropriate to the setting.

"Secret of the Tomb" sports a strong and varied cast that are, unfortunately, not used to their full potential. Rebel Wilson, who played Fat Amy in "Pitch Perfect," joins the cast as a security guard at the British Museum. Wilson, while funny, is cast to play yet another incarnation of the same bumbling character. There's an undercurrent of sadness to Robin Williams' performance that was more noticeable than it should have been, given unfortunate recent events. The point being, I know this cast is capable of better performances, given better direction.

All in all, "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" was a short, enjoyable trip to the movies. There's nothing Academy Award-worthy here, but the experience did elicit a smile from time to time and that, in and of itself, is worth the price of admission. If a film can make you smile, make you think, inspire you or give you a deeper appreciation for the things you have in your life, those feelings alone are worth the price of admission.

4 of 6

james.gerstner@gmail.com