Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb is a feeble, half-witted attempt to extricate $20 from our pockets, a robbery so clumsy we can literally see our money floating through the screen, funding its shoestring plot and irredeemable characters.
The first Night At The Museum (2006) had a little something for everyone. I enjoyed it. The second would have made the kids happy and the adults just a little scornful. This one, the third one, should come branded by Fisher-Price, because all anyone will ever like of it are its bright colours.
I am maddened by how infantile this movie is. In fact, no, to call this movie infantile is to insult the intellect of infants. This movie is the food they gargle and spit at the wall.
Many of the main characters have returned from previous films, which is all well and good, but there is absolutely nothing for them to do. Just observe the late Robin Williams, playing President Theodore Roosevelt. He’s part of the group because he was in the other movies, but all he does here is smile and run away from danger (where is his horse?). His character is so lost a map would only bring him back to the same spot. He later makes an acute discovery, however: He notes that he’s made from wax while his lover, Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), is made from polyurethane. Their romance was never going to last, he laments. Wake up, Teddy, you’re in a Hollywood movie.
Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan return as miniatures. Wilson plays Jedediah, a cowboy from Blazing Saddles, and Coogan plays a Roman centurion. Both men are written into the story to give Wilson and Coogan faces on the screen, but their mouths are not written to say anything important.
They get lost in the British Museum and find themselves in a scaled down replica of Pompeii, moments before it is buried under tonnes of volcanic ash. Where this fake volcano gets its lava and magma from is a mystery, as is Coogan’s inability to recognise a city from his own country (he speaks with an affluent British accent). I’ve always wondered how these two characters can come back movie after movie without being squished, since they are the most preposterous, redundant characters in the history of flimsy family entertainment.
The movie starts in Egypt in 1938, with the discovery of the tomb of Ahkmenrah and the famed magical tablet that looks like a prehistoric Sudoku puzzle. Then we’re back in present day with Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), still working at the Museum of Natural History in New York.
During an important charity dinner one night, the tablet goes bonkers and turns an innocent performance into a fiery nightmare. Now Larry and his band of wax heroes must travel across the Atlantic to discover the secrets of the tablet, which, of course, is prophesied to bring about the end of the world.
This is such a half-baked plot I’m amazed the characters don’t double back and retreat. But then again they’re too dim-witted to know any better. There are no stakes at play here, no personalities of any kind (the closest we get is a new character, Lancelot, who thinks he really is Lancelot). Not a single joke or gag rises above the material. There is not a single original idea. Rebel Wilson plays the British Museum night guard and just churns out traits of other characters, like the one she played in Pitch Perfect (2012). Larry’s not too thrilled about his son (Skyler Gisondo) wanting to become a DJ in Ibiza, even though he should know instinctively that it will all be okay in the end. And in the pantheon of disgusting pee gags, we get Dexter the monkey hosing down Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan. Why? Well, if the monkey doesn’t know, why should I?
Best Moment | Really, there is none.
Worst Moment | Any scene with Laa, the incredulous caveman.