When the original “Night at the Museum” was released in 2006, it was the type of comedy that appealed to a younger demographic, but managed to win over adults as well, thanks to a witty script and a talented and diverse cast.
The sequel, “Night at the Museum II: Battle of the Smithsonian” however, lacks both the on-screen charisma and plot levity of its older brother, making it an experience that will be remembered more for its mistakes, rather than its few successes.
Taking place a few years after the original, Larry Daley, played by the quirky and lovable Ben Stiller [Zoolander, Tropic Thunder] finds himself bored and unhappy as the CEO of a company that specializes in made for TV products.
So what is a man to do with more money than he can possibly dream of and the success and solid relationship with his son that seemingly avoided him at every turn in the last film?
You guessed it, return to the museum he used to work at as a night watchman.
It’s the kind of logic that would give a Vulcan an ulcer.
During Daley’s absence, things have gone terribly astray and his magical friends find themselves being transported to the basement of the famous Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
What sounds like a fluid series of events however, takes way too long to progress and lacks any sort of common sense. While this time around it’s obvious this flick is intended for children, rather than adults, the jumps in the story from one place to another are idiotic at best.
As a result, any viewer over the age of 10 will find themselves extremely aggravated through most of the movie.
Another reason why the original was so charming was the supporting acting of Owen Wilson [Drillbit Taylor, Marley and Me] Robin Williams [Dead Poets Society, Finding Nemo] and mainstays Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs. This time around, while Williams and Owen [and a slew of others] return, the old-school trio is absent, hurting the overall product immensely in the long run.
While Hank Azaria [Shattered Glass, Mad About You] is an amazing voice-actor, known for his work over the past two decades on the Simpsons, his terrible portrayal of the film’s main villain, Kah Mun Rah [while utilizing a terribly unbearable British lisp] make him unbearable to watch at times.
There are some bright new additions to the cast however, as the adorable Amy Adams [Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Enchanted] lights up the screen as the adventurous Amelia Earhart and forms a solid one-two punch with Stiller.
Bill Hader [Superbad, Knocked Up] also manages to sparkle as General Custer and provides a few laughs as well.
Unfortunately, it isn’t enough.
In the big scheme of things, the tandem of Adams and Stiller, with a well-written script, should have been enough to put this film over the top.
Ultimately, the lame script and silly, over the top comedy destroys any chance “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” had at getting a real laugh out of an adult crowd.
Aside from another monkey-smacking session and a few witty one-liners, there isn’t much to laugh at.