Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams and the gang are back in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, a sequel to the hit family comedy. Unfortunately, this time around, much of the magic has been lost.
In Night at the Museum 2, Larry Daley (Stiller) has moved onto seemingly bigger and better things as his various inventions - including his all-new glow-in-the-dark flashlight - have resulted in him becoming a force to be reckoned with in the business world. But when he learns that his friends at his old job, the various displays at the museum that come to life every night, are being moved to the Smithsonian basement, he sets out to save them - especially since an evil Egyptian pharaoh (Hank Azaria) has been awakened and is threatening to take over the world. Joining Larry in his efforts to stop the pharaoh is Amelia Earthart (Amy Adams).
The movie plays out pretty much like the first one, which was a surprisingly entertaining and easy-to-enjoy adventure-comedy. Unfortunately, as is often the case with sequels, Night at the Museum 2 struggles to do something new and original; while the setting has been changed slightly, the rest of it feels like more of the same. Everything from the plot to the humor is a less-inspired version of the original, and is clearly a cash-grab.
That being said, fans of the first movie should find enough to be mildly entertained; it moves at a fast pace and still presents some humorous moments. There are enough goofy moments to please the kids. The talent involved is fine - Stiller is OK, Adams looks cute and Azaria is pretty funny. However, Williams' role is reduced for the picture, and Wilson doesn't get much to do. A lot of the gimmicks that really paid dividends in the first movie are afterthoughts here.
Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian is by no means a disaster, but it's just a less-funny version of the original. There's no real reason for this movie to exist.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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