DVD: Night At The Museum 2
Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Amy Adams, Hank Azaria
Director: Shawn Levy
Screenwriters: Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon
After the success of 2006′s A-lister filled blockbuster Night at the Museum it was inevitable that Ben Stiller would reprise his role as museum night watchman Larry Daly. But, there’s a sting in the tail. As Night at the Museum 2 begins, he’s left his old job behind and is a respected entrepreneur who has given the world such fantastic inventions as the glow in the dark torch.Â Surprisingly, becoming such a creative great has left him unfulfilled and he seems to pine for a return to his previous job at the larger-than-life Museum of Natural History. Luckily for him, he is about to be flung back into the world of good, the bad and the ugly of history as the exhibits at his former workplace are being shifted into storage in Washington.
Unfortunately, that’s where the problems begin for Night at the Museum 2. The set-up feels flimsy and ill-thought out and the array of cameos, which carried the first film, aren’t that impressive or â€“ more importantly â€“ funny. Ricky Gervais returns as the uptight curator of the museum, but this time he’s back without a single decent line of dialogue, while Robin Williams, Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan put in similarly laughter-free shifts.
Newcomer Amy Adams revels in her role as intrepid aviation expert Amelia Earhart, even if her romance with Stiller is insipid and predictable. Stiller himself puts in a typical Stiller performance and does his best to add some humour to the bone dry script. However, the star of the show is Hank Azaria â€“ better known for his work in The Simpsons â€“ who stars as the evil yet impossible to take seriously pharaoh Kamunrah.
Once the action is underway things pick up a little, with the million-miles-a-minute pace helping the story to skip along at a decent speed, which will be sure to keep the younger members of the audience engaged. There’s some nice action set pieces, particularly a scene which sees Stiller and Adams hopping in and out of famous artworks, transporting them into â€“ among others â€“ a US wartime scene as a hoard of the Azaria’s men- including Ivan the terrible, Napoleon and Al Capone – follow in hot pursuit.
It’s a shame to see such an A-list comedy cast as wasted as they are in Night of the Museum 2. Sure there’s the odd laugh, but this is very much one for the little ones. Having said that, while it may not deliver the belly laughs that you’d expect from Stiller, Gervais, Coogan and co there are far worse films for mums and dads to sit through in a bid to keep the kids happy.
But, even the youngsters may be disappointed with the thin on the ground extras. There’s a short film about the animal members of the cast and a series of in-character clips from some of stars, but there’s really nothingÂ to turn an average film into an entertaining DVD package.
Special features: Historical Confessions: Famous Last Words, Primate Prima Donnas
Night at the Museum 2 is outÂ now via 20th Century Fox
By Richard Chamberlain