Sunday, May 24, 2009

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (***)

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.  105 mins.  PG.  Directed by Shawn Levy.  Written by Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon.  Starring Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Christopher Guest, and Robin Williams.

The cast list for the sequel to the surprise family hit Night at the Museum reads like a who's who of the brightest and best comic minds working in film today.  Too bad they're all gathered for a serviceably pleasant family adventure comedy that's entertaining without ever really being truly funny, instead of something more.  Stiller returns as Larry Daley, a former museum security guard who's forced back into action when all of the exhibits from the first movie are shipped to the Smithsonian along with the magical gold tablet that brings them to life.  How Larry ends up at the Smithsonian is sketchy at best, but the plot is just an excuse to bring all these museum artifacts to life.  Amy Adams fares best as Amelia Earhart, a plucky '30s dame, who's quick on her feet and even quicker with verbal quips.  Screenwriters Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (both of Reno 911, and both of whom penned the first film) do a nice job of keeping the action moving along and sprinkling educational nuggets of information throughout.  As dumb as it can be sometimes, it's hard to fault a movie that tries to make history exciting for the kids without ever stooping to lectures or dry exposition.  And though it could have used more Ricky Gervais (what movie couldn't?), this Night at the Museum is a marked improvement over the first one and provides a nice bit of escapist summer fun for families.  



Post a Comment

<< Home