Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Runtime 114 Minutes
This was an extremely dispiriting movie for me to sit through. It’s not just that it is horrible, it’s that I have seen more truly awful movies this year than in any year since I started doing this. This film is of such low intellectual value, it besmirches everyone involved with it.
Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), now a wildly successful businessman, returns as the night watchman who finds that all the inanimate objects, statues and paintings and such, in the museum can come alive at night. Transferred to the Smithsonian, they feel they are on their last stand and have to fight for their survival.
I said that the first iteration of this in 2006 was “a good idea that pretty much fails in translation.” The only difference with this sequel is that it was not a good idea to start out with. The first film was aimed at a 10-year old mentality but even so, I didn’t think it was appropriate for children because it trivialized American history. The same criticism applies here but this one is even dumber than the first.
This idea could have been one that was comedic but which celebrated intelligence and American history. It could have informed people about the real Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) and the real Abraham Lincoln. Instead it pictures them as imbecilic buffoons.
One expects lousy movies from Robin Williams and Owen Wilson because they have both developed careers out of them (“RV,” “License to Wed,” “August Rush,” “I Spy,” “You, Me and Dupree” and “Drillbit Taylor” to name a few of their bombs). It’s not that they lack talent, so it must be that they lack taste. How could anybody read this script (or any of those mentioned) and think it would be entertaining? But what is truly disappointing is the appearance of the enormously talented Amy Adams (Amelia Earhart). Watching her wobble her way through this infantile idiocy, directed by Shawn Levy and with writing credits to Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, is akin to fantasizing a nightmare about watching Laurence Olivier acting in an equally horrible movie like “Reefer Madness.”
Adams does her best with the material. Equally valiant is Hank Azaria, who plays a sexually ambiguous Egyptian, Kahmunrah. He provides the only true comedy relief in this interminable atrocity.