Stiller’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian


Wide-eyed kids, attended by their pouchy-eyed parents, will have few complaints about Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian; all you people in between and beyond could do worse as well. Director Shawn Levy and star Ben Stiller return (as do Robin Williams, Steve Coogan, and Owen Wilson—alongside newbies Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Christopher Guest, and Jay Baruchel) for this bank-breaking sequel to the 2006 original, in which a directionless single dad takes a job as the night guard at New York’s Museum of Natural History, then takes on its various exhibits when an ancient Egyptian tablet brings them to life. Smithsonian begins with those same exhibits being shipped off to the Washington, D.C., museum of the same name, Larry Daley (Stiller) having abandoned them for fortune as a small-time inventor. When the tablet winds up in D.C., it animates the entire museum’s collection, including a rogue posse led by a lisping Egyptian pharaoh (Hank Azaria) and a gratingly plucky Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams). Though it’s a little slow to start and some of the humor clunks, the film features a wholesome charm, some truly dazzling effects (the Lincoln Memorial alone is worth it), and enough mild, parent-nip in-jokes to keep all but the stone-hearted happy.