Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian (Review)

Ben Stiller sequel is a losing battle

Jun 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I never saw the first Night at the Museum, but there are times when you just know everything you need to know about a movie from a trailer, especially those aimed at the broadest audience possible. And this latest installment looks just as silly, mainly because I’ve come to realize that I just don’t have a thing for Ben Stiller’s brand of humor — that ironic straight man who is really mugging by pretending to not mug, which seems both dumb and smart all at once.

General audiences love him, but, in my opinion, Stiller is becoming the comedic version of Nicolas Cage in terms of starring in unwatchable movies that inexplicably make money at the box office. Yet, for this visit to the Smithsonian, I’m willing to extend a degree of good will and objectivity due to the presence of Amy Adams, who I don’t buy as the perennial Oscar darling that she is, but she brings spunky energy and the most sex appeal I’ve ever seen from her here as Amelia Earhart.

Stiller’s night guard has now become a successful entrepreneur and has left museum work behind, but he gets dragged back to rescue his re-animated historic buddies Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavius (Steve Coogan) when they are transferred to the Smithsonian from the Museum of Natural History. The gags have no kid-cute factor or historic value, but, if I must, I suppose I’m willing to let Adams drag me through this hellish Battle. Grade: D

Opens June 5. Check out theaters and show times, see the film's trailer and find nearby bars and restaurants here.