Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

2014, PG, 97 min. Directed by Shawn Levy. Starring Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Rebel Wilson, Ben Kingsley, Ricky Gervais, Dick Van Dyke, Steve Coogan.

REVIEWED By Louis Black, Fri., Dec. 19, 2014

A number of critics seem to have been stunned to realize in the middle of this film that they were watching Night at the Museum 3, the series in which all the attractions in New York City's American Museum of Natural History come to life after dark. Perhaps they had misremembered the title as an obscure Shakespearean comedy. If you're not expecting a cross between The Philadelphia Story and Groundhog Day (peak achievements in American film comedy), by way of Preston Sturges, this sequel will do you just right.

Surprisingly well-crafted for something as aggressively dumb as this, the real surprise is the cast. All-star casts more often turn into a series of dud performances, but it is gratifying how many of them offer fine turns here. In the lead, Stiller is overly serious and somewhat oblivious, yet as focused as a guided missile. Wilsons Owen and Rebel, Coogan, Van Dyke, and Gervais all have their moments, with some having several.

Nice effects work, a relatively swift-moving narrative, sweet performances, and, by now, a well-worn premise prove inspiring this time out, and not deadening. Robin Williams, in one of his final performances, is fine. He does seem tainted by a certain sadness, but that just may be a misreading of history. "I yam what I yam," as Popeye said. Adding, "And that's all that I yam.”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Shawn Levy Films
Free Guy
Ryan Reynolds levels up for the summer’s most charming and fun blockbuster

Matthew Monagle, Aug. 13, 2021

This Is Where I Leave You
Awfully likeable ensemble comedy.

Kimberley Jones, Sept. 19, 2014

More by Louis Black
From the Archives: Organizing Outside the System – Deborah Shaffer and <i>The Wobblies</i>
From the Archives: Organizing Outside the System – Deborah Shaffer and The Wobblies
Our 1981 interview with the filmmaker behind the classic doc

May 3, 2022

Page Two: Row My Boat Ashore
Page Two: Row My Boat Ashore
Louis Black bids farewell in his final "Page Two" column

Sept. 8, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Shawn Levy, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Rebel Wilson, Ben Kingsley, Ricky Gervais, Dick Van Dyke, Steve Coogan

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle