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Night at the Museum 2


Stars: Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Hank Azaria, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, Christopher Guest, Bill Hader, Jay Baruchel, George Foreman

Director: Shawn Levy

Fight at the Museum would be a more accurate title for this lively, if inevitably same-y sequel, which is virtually one succession of battles and chases once it gets under way. It's enjoyable enough, though you can't see any reason to remake such a one-shot idea - apart from cashing in at the box-office!

All of the old cast are back for this one, with Stiller's Larry now departed from the museum and running his own business inventing such gadgets as luminous flashlights. That is, until he hears that most of his favourite exhibits (all of which come to life after nightfall) are being shipped off into cold storage at the Smithsonian in Washington DC in a museum revamp.

Whizzing off to Washington, Larry is soon in the uniform of a museum guard and locating his friends, who include the feuding miniature gladiator and cowboy (Coogan, Wilson). Unfortunately, he also encounters an Egyptian pharaoh (a lisping Azaria) who is determined to solve a combination conundrum and 'bring forth my army of the dead'.

While the pharaoh assembles a gang of bad guys, including Ivan the Terrible, Al Capone and Napoleon, Larry finds his own ally in pioneer pilot Amelia Earhart (Adams) and the chase, rescue and counter-chase through the museum is on.

Adams, in butt-hugging flying trousers, is an asset to the film, but Azaria's Egyptian is too silly to be menacing and his army of the dead prove to be men with eagles' heads who turn tail at the sight of a living statue of Abraham Lincoiln.

The technical skill in all this is awe-inspiring, but there are too few laugh-out-loud moments, and some jokes, like the monkey-slapping sequence, that are considerably past their sell-by date. But Stiller does what he can, and Gervais is inimitably amusing as the museum curator. It's also true that this may be the only film in which you'll ever see Steve Coogan riding a squirrel.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Technicolor.
106 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 16 May 2009