This movie focuses on four residents and "stars" of the Central Park Zoo in New York City who are also best friends: a lion (Stiller), a zebra (Rock), a giraffe (Schwimmer) and a pregnant hippo (Smith). When one of them goes missing, the other three break out of the zoo looking for him, and eventually all four are captured and put in boxes to ship them back to the continent their species are originally from: Africa. An accident at sea, however, strands them on the shore of Madagascar. Having had humans take care of them their entire life, the four know nothing of surviving in the wild, or that one of them, the lion, is genetically predisposed to eat his three best friends. Exploring their surroundings, the four friends soon meet the Malagasy locals (a type of lemur given to having loud "rave-like" dance parties) and their carnivorous enemies, the fousas. As the two sides try to use these four new, strange (and large) friends to their benefit, our heroes are also confronted with the reality of their predestined roles in nature.