Smithsonian," largely as research. Lee Schneider and company are
planning to do "Night at the Museum" as the theme for this year's
Lytheria Halloween. We hadn't rushed out to see the original, having
borrowed the DVD from the library at the urging of friends, and had
found it cute and funny. Suffice to say, that there's very little in the
sequel that wasn't in the original, except a change of venue and some
new bad guys. Moving the action to the Smithsonian Institution ("the
world's largest museum") allows the writers an excuse to throw in
anything they might have thought would be cool to play around with. Thus
we see paintings on the walls such as Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" and
Grant Wood's "American Gothic," even though they belong at the Art
Institute of Chicago. A cast of Rodin's "The Thinker" is found in the
National Gallery of Art, which is on the Mall in Washington, D.C., but
is not actually part of the Smithsonian Institution. And one wonders why
the Smithsonian, which is primarily oriented toward things American,
would even possess mannequins of Ivan the Terrible or Napoleon
Bonaparte, although their presence might be explained by the supposed
"archive storage" for other museums.
That being said, the negligible plot runs basically the bad guys and the
good guys try to one-up each other in a running battle by recruiting
more and more of the museum's animated exhibits. Ben Stiller, Robin
Williams, Steve Coogan, and Owen Williams competently reprise their
roles from the first film, although the best parts of the movie are Amy
Adams as Amelia Earhart (Georgie said Earhart's character as depicted
was correct in essence), and Hank Azaria as new villain Kamunrah. George
Armstrong Custer, as played by Bill Hader, is given a role which I think
portrays the historical man as uncharacteristically stupid rather than
fatally arrogant. As a comedic adjunct to the film, he is totally
overshadowed by Owen Wilson being Owen Wilson--.
The most annoying bit in the film is definitely Larry's (Stiller)
confrontation with a childish Smithsonian guard, played by Jonah Hill.
This playground-style "pissing match" is incredible and goes on too
long, although it is a little bit redeemed when echoed by Napoleon
(Alain Chabat) and Ivan (Christopher Guest) later on.
Verdict: Mildly amusing fluff for some afternoon when you don't have
anything better to do. Cartoon style violence, no sex or bad language.