Night at the Museum:Battle of the Smithsonian(released May/09)stars Ben Stiller as Larry Daley,Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart,Tess Owen Wilson as Jedediah,Hank Azaria as Kahmunrah,Robin Williams as Theodore Roosevelt and many others.This second entry is by far the weakest of the two films of this franchise so far.The film/story is really padded and edited poorly.
The story finds Stiller,now a successful businessman and having marketed for great profits his inventions.He has had little or no time for visiting his old job at the museum.With an upcoming possible deal with Wal-Mart,he decides to take a stroll down memory lane and go back to the museum on some down time.It seems many of the exhibits now are being shipped to the Smithsonian in Washington,DC,for storage,as the exhibits now will be interactive instead of passive.
Later that day Stiller receives a frantic call from one of the exhibits saying that the brother of the pharaoh in the Natural History Musuem,has come alive in storage in Washington,and wants to take over the world.Stiller rushes to Washington and infiltrates the storage areas down below the main halls.There he confronts brother Pharaoh who holds one of the exhibits captive,while Stiller and his new companion Amelia Earhart,must find the clue that unlocks the gold tablet.Stiller and Earhart travel through most of the exhibits and finally come upon bobble head Einsteins who tell him the answer.Brother Pharaoh has enlisted the help of Al Capone and Ivan the Terrible for his conquering plans.Stiller returns to the Pharaoh,and while the two argue over who gives in first,Capone and his posse arrive with the answer themselves.The gate is opened and in walk minions from the Egyptian underworld.In the nick of time Lincoln(of the Lincoln statue)comes in and sends them packing.The Pharaoh and Stiller have a brief battle and while Earhart opens the gate door,Stiller pushes him through it and to oblivion.The captive exhibit is freed,who explains that it really wasn't them who needed Stiller,but the other way around.The film ends as the musueum has reopened due to a generous donation from an anonymous donour and an Earhart look alike comes strolling into the museum and Stiller and she strike up a convo.
There are so many fillers in this film.The ending is terribly slow,as there is a long drawn out convo between Stiller and the curator and Stiller and the Earhart look a like.What the impetus was for Stiller ever going back to the museum in the first place is not clear to me,as he was in the midst of a big business deal,with plans high on his priority list.There is a recreation of the slapping monkey scene,and this time its with Dexter and Able,a like monkey who went into space.Both have their go at Stiller at the same time.But it is not funny this time around.There is also this side romantic plot of Stiller with Earhart,which really falls flat in the end.
I also must say that just because one happens to have parents that are comedians,doesn't mean that that talent is naturally passed on to that off spring.If that was the case the children of such REAL comedy greats like Chaplin,Laurel,Keaton,Lloyd,et al would have had brilliant offspring as well.Stiller shows he still has a LONG way to go to develop his comedic skills and improve his range of emotion,when trying to truly emote and act.A true comedian,such as those mentioned,could play the most serious of dramatic roles as well as play the "fool".Stiller has strung along on his parents coat tails for far too long and needs to step up and own it or get the heck off the stage.Stiller has been good in roles more suited to his limited abilities like Mystery Men and Zoolander,but those kind of roles do not happen on a consistent enough basis.And for gosh sakes,could not the producers have at least got other actors who at least looked NEAR to the real Earhart and Al Capone? They did a good job with Williams as Teddy.And Hank Azaria does a good job channeling Boris Karloff in his role as the bad Pharaoh brother.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras abound in this film like gag reels,deleted scenes,featurettes and commentary.
All in all a disappointing entry and the weakest in the series so far.Stiller is wooden in his role(as in the first)and the film is just too long and padded to keep ones interest throughout.Barely three stars.