A Mars vs Venus review of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

A Mars vs Venus review of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

STARRING: Ben Stiller, Dan Stevens, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Rebel Wilson, Ben Kingsley

DIRECTOR: Shawn Levy

THE SKINNY: Security guard Larry (Stiller) takes his band of sentient museum exhibits to England to figure out how to stop them from reverting back to lifelessness. Once there, they learn that they must recharge a magic Egyptian MacGuffin in moonlight. Mayhem dutifully ensues.

RATING: PG

A Mars look by Jason Johnson

Ben Stiller looks absolutely miserable in this sequel. 

I'm not sure if he himself is miserable or if his character is supposed to be miserable, but either way it's off-putting.

This is supposed to be a comedy, right?

Why does he just stand there with that blank look on his face, not responding at all to the insanity around him?

Maybe he's in that zen phase that a lot of comedians get to, where they feel like they don't actually have to be funny to be funny.

The only time he shows any­thing resembling human emotion is when he's talking to that stupid monkey.

Stiller also plays a caveman in the film, and those caveman bits are marginally more entertaining.

As if Stiller isn't already enough of a downer, the late Robin Williams also has a large role as recurring character Teddy Roosevelt.

This is one of the last films he made before taking his own life, and you can't help but feel for the poor guy.

He looks absolutely mournful.

I found myself musing over the fact that Owen Wilson, who plays the cowboy, tried to kill himself once too.

Also, Mickey Rooney died after working on the flick.

Most of the characters here are basically on the verge of death. There's a pall that hangs over this supposed comedy that's impossible to overlook. It's more like a night at the crypt than a night at the museum.

A Venus look by Joanne Soh

joannes@sph.com.sg

What made Night At The Museum unique is also what's killing it.

It's hard to keep the momentum going; what other surprises can you pull now that we know everything comes alive at night?

Yet, there's still some magic left in this final part of a rather fun trilogy.

Taking viewers to the British Museum is a brilliant idea, as there are many exhibits that make good plot points.

One standout is Brit actor Dan Stevens' Sir Lancelot.

Not only does the Downton Abbey star provide most of the slick action sequences and good punchlines - especially in a scene featuring a surprise cameo by a Hollywood A-lister - he's also extremely pleasant to watch.

Like Amy Adams' Amelia Earhart in the second movie, Lancelot is the saviour of this third instalment.

Rebel Wilson is another hilarious addition, though director Shawn Levy doesn't seem to know when to cut her off, which is why some of her shtick gets a bit jarring.

Stiller, on the other hand, is downright dreary.

While most of the returning cast such as the late Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Wilson and Steve Coogan still have sparkle, there's none to be found in our leading man. Maybe he's feeling sentimental about his swansong.

Expect juvenile jokes and sight gags. Ditto for spectacular special effects.

Though it's not awesome, it's still a crowd-pleasing farewell.

THE CONSENSUS: If you can ignore Stiller's depressing performance, you just might have a decent time at this Museum.


This article was first published on December 24, 2014.
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