Sunday, May 24, 2009

Night At The Museum 2: Battle For The Smithsonian

Some fun special effects and a perky job of acting by Amy Adams (as Amelia Earhart) save this overblown sequel from total disaster. As usual, Hollywood takes a winning formula and decides bigger will be better for the second time around.

Ben Stiller remains perfectly cast as the straight man to even more historical characters brought to life in this second go-round. If one monkey slapping him in the first film is funny, let's get two monkeys to slap him around in the second film...yawn. Steve Coogan reprises his role as a Roman soldier and his finest moment comes astride a squirrel. Say it ain't so, Steve! Owen Wilson also reprises his role as the plucky cowboy who is reduced to spending most of the film drowning in an hourglass. There are many other characters from the first film that are nothing more than cameos for the thin new plot.

Upping the ante at the Smithsonian is a great concept. Introducing new historical characters and bringing inanimate art to life make for visual treats and clever one liners but overdoing it exposes the weak story. Only Ms. Adams, Mr. Stiller and Hank Azaria have any depth to their characters. Ms. Adams, in particular, elevates the entire film simply by actually acting rather than picking up a paycheck.

Kids will enjoy all the PG mayhem but adults will have settle for the aforementioned visuals and the talented Ms. Adams.

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