Friday, June 12, 2009

Movie Review: Night at the Museum 2 (Graveyard Shift)

Imagine a memory of a fantastic dish. It was light fare, not totally filling, but fulfilling. It was absolutely tasty, and all the ingredients were just right.

That’s how I felt about Ben Stiller’s first outing as the hapless night guard in “Night at the Museum.” And $574,480,000 in box office receipts indicated that I was not alone.

So naturally, I was totally stoked about the inevitable sequel.

But what happens when a perfect recipe of visual gags, subtle jokes, and Ben Stiller get overdone with too much and the whole dish becomes little more than a giant heap of bits and pieces?

Welcome to “Night at the Museum 2.”

"...As expected, the whole Smithsonian becomes an animated, overloaded theme park of special effects..."

This sequel, like most other sequels, was obviously an afterthought with the probable directions to make it “bigger,” “better,” and yes, “bigger-er.” And was there a bigger and more colorful museum than the bloody Smithsonian? So they got all the old guys back, tossed in more of Ben Stiller’s friends, and created this lazy excuse for a movie.

Here, Stiller has become a big TV shopping mogul, and has not visited his erstwhile inanimate wards at the Museum of Natural History. When he does go see them, they are apparently being readied to be packed up and stored away “forever” in the Smithsonian. Of course, we are to assume that Ben Stiller is unable to find himself some real human friends, and that his social life is limited to a bunch of old, none-moving museum displays brought to life at night by an Egyptian artifact. Not every different from someone’s horny grandfather with a Viagra stash on a Saturday night.

"...Of course, we did not buy tickets to “Museum 2” looking for a fucking plot..."

Ben Stiller then proceeds to break into the Smithsonian for the sake of making a movie, while totally insulting the intelligence of the movie audience, who they think is obsessed at simply seeing the special effects used to make museum pieces come to life. So many of Stiller’s precious museum piece friends are being moved to the Smithsonian, including the Egyptian tablet thingie that makes everyone come to life at night. As expected, the whole Smithsonian becomes an animated, overloaded theme park of special effects.

And that’s where the problem lay. There was too much going on, and the filmmakers tried too hard to squeeze in as much as they could, but it was just nigh impossible in a hundred minutes. So all the gags ended up being half-baked. Of course, we did not buy tickets to “Museum 2” looking for a fucking plot. But man, at least we wanted to decently entertained, right?

The cast looked like they really tried, especially Hank Azaria, whose entrance was easily the highlight of the film. Amy Adams probably thought she was still in a Disney film, considering how she’s overacting. Ben Stiller and Robin Williams are always a joy to watch no matter how dreadful a movie.

But still-er (bad pun intended)… I wish we didn’t trade the “Terminator” tickets for this piece of overdone crap. I am doing my best to honor the first movie’s fresh, innovative entertainment by doing yoga while convincing myself this sequel never happened.

‘catch you later…

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