May 22, 2009|
(USA) Ben Stiller is back with his goofiness in the sequel to the rather forgettable 2006 smash hit Night At the Museum. Though perhaps it’s not a case of goofiness, but more of a case of non-acting as his expressionless face just manages to evoke laughter in whatever situations he may encounter. The new film, surprisingly, does not suffer a bout of sequelitis (unlike most other sequels which fail to live up to expectations), and is actually somewhat better than the first installment of the movie. Or maybe it’s because the expectations weren’t there in the first place.
Following Larry Daley’s (Ben Stiller) night job at the smaller Museum of National History where he had built remarkable camaraderie with his doomed exhibits, Stiller has moved on to bigger things two years later, becoming the CEO of a company inventing ridiculous items such as a glow-in-the-dark flashlight and a super-big dog bone. He returns one evening to the museum to find out that the exhibits are about to be moved to the Smithsonian Museum, and goes back there to save the day.
This sequel is certainly larger than life, literally. The Smithsonian Museum is tres grandeur on screen with its lofty architecture, and director Shawn Levy is certainly lucky that the Smithsonian authorities allowed him to shoot there. The rest of the cast is good too, including new additions like the Oscar-nominated Amy Adams in the female lead as aviatrix America Earhart, otherwise known as the obligatory love interest. Though the character is pretty two-dimensional, Adams turn in a remarkable and scene-stealing performance. Hank Azaria is outstanding as the power-crazed Egyptian pharaoh Kahmunrah unable to move with the times. Old favorites such as Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt and Owen Wilson as Jedediah Smith also return to add to the silly fun and laughter.
Though catered more towards adolescents, this does not mean adults will be deterred from a fun night out. Many contemporary references such as the horrendous Celine Dion ditty “My Heart Will Go On,” and even a brief cameo by Darth Vader and Oscar the Grouch, are thrown in as not to alienate audiences of whatever ages. Just keep in storage your critic-tinted lens and ignore the preachy bits of the film, and you might just enjoy this relatively passable film.