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Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb


Stars: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, Dan Stevens, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Dick Van Dyke, Ben Kingsley. Skyler Gisondo, Rebel Wilson, Hugh Jackman, Mickey Rooney, Alice Eve, Rami Malek, Mizuo Peck, Bill Cobbs

Director: Shawn Levy

This is in some ways a sad as well as wacky film, as it's both the weakest of the three 'museum' romps and the last appearances of both Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams - and, in all probability, of Dick Van Dyke, who'll be 90 in 2015.

Director Levy tries his best here, but the vein of comedy the series discovered is pretty much mined out, and it only staggers to feature length with the help of seven minutes of credits and a picture-postcard tour of London.

The feeble plot, after a rather spectacular opening sequence set in 1938 Egypt, concerns the discovery of a long-lost tomb and a number of priceless artefacts, including a golden plaque of nine movable squares which finds its way to New York's Natural History Museum and brings the exhibits there to life at night.

Now the ankh (or whatever it is) is suffering from a mysterious corrosion that is depriving the waxwork figures, stuffed animals and prehistoric dinosaur skeletons of their nightly animation.

Security guard Larry (Ben Stiller) who knows what the museum curator (a tiresome Ricky Gervais) doesn't, decides to travel to the Egyptian exhibition in London to save the day. Several of his nighttime 'colleagues', including Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Steve Coogan) and Teddy Roosevelt (Williams), stow away to be with him.

In London, once we're past the touristy bit, they meet a tubby female security guard (a dreadful performance by Rebel Wilson) and a series of largely uninteresting exhibits brought to life by the golden artefact, including Dan Stevens, giving it his all as Sir Lancelot.

The film does get livelier towards the end, and there are guest appearances by Ben Kingsley (he'll do anything, it seems) and Hugh Jackman that contribute very little. I'm afraid Stiller and Co have gone to the well once too often here, and the series may have disappeared up its own artefact.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Technicolor.
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Dec 2014