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Friday, May 22, 2009

Review: NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN


I enjoyed Night at the Museum because of one reason: it was fun. It was simple, enjoyable, charming, and often times very funny. The only thing it had going against it was its predictability.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian has pretty much the same qualities going for it, except it might have been a bit less funny, and bit more predictable. *Sharp inward breath*

This movie has a comedy ensemble the likes of which I have not seen in a while; Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Eugene Levy, Hank Azaria, Christopher Guest, Alain Chabet, Ricky Gervais and Bill Hader. Not to mention some great cameos from Jonah Hill, Mindy Kaling, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, and Thomas Lennon. Also, I can't believe I'm going to say this, but the Jonas Brothers even have a cameo, and it is nothing short of delightful.

Let's start. Ben Stiller is his lovable Ben Stiller self. He has the rare talent of being able to work well off of every other actor in the movie, especially Hill, Adams, Azaria, and Chabet. He has some really funny one-liners, and to be honest, the movie would be nothing without him. Great job to Ben Stiller.

Hank Azaria, as usual, is hilarious. He plays Kahmunrah, Abe Lincoln, and The Thinker (the sculpture). Azaria just might be the greatest character actor of all time. His accent is amazing, his wit as sharp as his spear. The movie might be worth seeing just for his conversation with everyone's favorite Sith.

I have to give honorable mention to Jonah Hill as well. It's silly, but one of the reasons I didn't love the movie as much as the last one is because he was only in one scene. In it, he and Stiller banter back and forth for about five minutes of absolute comic brilliance. I would have loved to have seen one more bit with him.

Now for Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart. I am incredibly conflicted about my opinion of her character. For one, I want to say how ridiculous it is to have such a young, beautiful actress playing Amelia Earhart. I want to say that in school, I was told that Earhart was mean and grumpy all the time. However, Amy Adams plays her as smart, fun, and incredibly charming. She really is great. I want to say how ridiculous of an interpretation of her the movie had, but she was just too adorable for me to care.

This one was written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. Here's what I think: they should not be making PG movies. Balls of Fury is hilarious, because they don't have to censor themselves. Reno 911! is definitely not censored, and it's great. They need to stick to being filthy; it works much better.

As for Shawn Levy, he has yet to make a movie that really blows me away. He's clearly a very capable filmmaker, so why not try something that has more promise than films like The Pink Panther and Night at the Museum? I know he's got the talent. I'm excited for a project that has some depth to it.

So, Night at the Museum 2 gets a 3. It's not bad, it's just not good enough. Sequels should be better than the previous movie. No one wants to walk out of the theater thinking about their favorite parts of the first movie. And while it is very, very funny, its predictability brings it down. Not to mention the enormous buildup the movie has to an extremely disappointing finale.

Funny, but not the best.
3 stars

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