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Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb




Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (PG)
Film reviews by Amy Diaz

12/25/14
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (PG)

The exhibits of the Museum of Natural History come to life again for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the last ride for the Ben Stiller comedy series.
Larry (Stiller) is head of night programing at the museum, where, you’ll remember, a magical Egyptian tablet allows all of the exhibits to come to life after sunset: the T-Rex bones, the wax figures of Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) and Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), the stuffed monkey named Dexter, the tiny diorama figures of the cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Roman Octavius (Steve Coogan). The characters now serve as the after-hours show that brings extra visitors and money into the museum, especially at events such as the big fundraiser where Larry is unveiling the new planetarium. But just as the walking/talking exhibits are making their big-money presentation, they start to go haywire, fighting and charging and scaring away all the donors. 
Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), the Egyptian pharaoh whose exhibit contains the magical tablet, tells Larry that he thinks something is going wrong with tablet itself. While he doesn’t know how to fix it, his father, Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley, of course), who commissioned the tablet way back in the B.C., might. So Larry convinces museum head Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais), who has been fired for the fundraiser fiasco, to use what’s left of his professional juice to send the tablet and Ahkmenrah’s mummy to the British Museum, where Merenkahre’s mummy is. Because what’s a road-trip movies without a car full of buddies, central NYC museum characters TR, Sacajawea, Jed, Octavius, Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher) and a new, suspiciously familiar-looking Neanderthal named Laa (also Stiller) tag along with Ahkmenrah and join in on the tablet-fixing high jinks. Along with Ahkmenrah’s pharaoh dad and his mom, other British Museum exhibits also wake up due to proximity of the tablet, including Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens), who is eager to do some questing.
Stevens’ clueless Lancelot adds a nice element of British-yness to the endeavor and is part of the movie’s best, laugh-out-loud moment, which occurs in the final third and involves a really well-used cameo I won’t spoil. Most of Secret of the Tomb is more chuckle-out-loud or even chuckle-on-the-inside, but that’s OK. The movie is what all the entries in this trilogy have been: a decent movie to take the whole family, great-grandma and elementary-schoolers included, to that will, sure, probably not surprise and delight anyone but is unlikely to offend or deeply bore anyone either. There is a nice subplot about Larry’s college-bound (or maybe not) son Nick (Skyler Gisondo) and I even got a little, well, not choked up but wistful maybe in the final scenes with Teddy Roosevelt, which represent some of the final scenes we’ll see of Williams on the big screen (IMDB lists only one movie in Williams’ credits after this one). 
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is a solid, pleasant adventure film that will serve its purpose, both in theaters and for years after on your TV screen, of giving families a welcome hour-and-37-minute span of time when they don’t have to talk to each other. B
Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language. Directed by Shawn Levy with a screenplay by David Guion & Michael Handelman (story by Mark Friedman and David Guion & Michael Handelman; characters by Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is an hour and 37 minutes long and is distributed by 20th Century Fox.





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