Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Directed By: Shawn Levy

Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Dan Stevens, Rebel Wilson, Ricky Gervais, and Ben Kingsley

Sometimes, it can be difficult to disentangle life from art.  What I mean by this is that it can be challenging to watch a film outside the lens of real world events, even if they have absolutely nothing to do with the tale at hand.  This is definitely the case for me with Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.  After all, I'm still saddened by the loss of Robin Williams several months ago.  That admiration and respect for a lost icon of the entertainment industry is frankly at the forefront of my mind while watching Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.  With one of Williams's final performances, even as a silly caricature of Teddy Roosevelt, I just can't disentangle life from art.

Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is planning a spectacular night at the Museum of Natural History that will showcase all the exhibits for a black tie affair hosted by curator Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais).  The affair is quite lovely at first with everyone chipping in to make it a dazzling evening at the museum.  Things suddenly go awry while Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) is making a speech.  The exhibits inexplicably run wild, terrifying all of McPhee's guests.  Because the buck starts and stops with Dr. McPhee, the chairman lets him go.  Meanwhile, Larry investigates a strange phenomenon taking place with the magical tablet that brings all the exhibits to life at night.  He starts by visiting an old colleague, Cecil (Dick Van Dyke).  As it stands, all roads lead to England.

I'm no fan of the Night at the Museum series, but I did enjoy this third outing at times.  It may be that I'm attempting to savor every second of one of Robin Williams's final appearances on the big screen.  It may also be that I'm looking for something rather sugary in the face of an utterly depressing slate of Christmas movies over the coming week.  Either way, it's an amusing little romp that appeals to my inner child.  With charming performances from Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Dan Stevens, and of course Williams himself, a cast of colorful characters comes to life ready to get into some earnest mischief.  For whatever reason, this Night at the Museum flick gets the job done for me on this weekend.

All that being said, I have plenty of gripes with Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.  I don't mind a wholesome film, but there are some pretty cheesy moments.  There are some attempts at humor that are flat out disgusting.  Lastly, Ben Stiller and Rebel Wilson fail to really hold my attention with their underwhelming performances.  These aren't exactly small gripes, so I do want to articulate them clearly.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb gets a 0.06% rating.  It's one of the last times we'll see Robin Williams give a heartfelt monologue on the big screen that just resonates.  The film also marks one of the final times we'll see the late Mickey Rooney on camera.  Have a few glasses of Moscato in honor of the two gents.