LINDSEY – Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Robin Williams

Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Robin WilliamsTake heed: There are at least two acutely sad moments involving Robin Williamsandrsquo Teddy Roosevelt in the latest andldquoNight at the Museumandrdquo The movie, subtitled andldquoSecret of the Tomb,andrdquo is imbued with the unshakable inevitability that even though weandrsquore still having fun, itandrsquos time to move on — a narrative made only more poignant by Williamsandrsquos sudden and shocking death last yearItandrsquos hard not to concentrate on his every movement and word or to get antsy when heandrsquos in the midst of a bit and the camera cuts away to a monkey peeing on something, leaving us straining to hear Williamsandrsquo voice. And yet, as silly a role and movie as this is, it also manages to live up to the (unfair) responsibility of being a comedy legendandrsquos last role.

Director Shawn Levy and his team strike the right balance, without overwhelming the story with melancholy.Beyond Williams, andldquoNight at the Museum: Secret of the Tombandrdquo is a lively romp with the over-the-top historical figures that audiences have come to enjoy over the years that, in spite of the dead zones, elicits more than a few bawdy laughs throughout its swift runtime.

The latest installment delves (not too deeply) into the mythology of the ancient tablet that brings the museum fixtures to life. When the golden treasure starts to corrode, things go haywire, leading to a particularly disastrous fundraising event as all the characters revert to their true, violent selves and, inexplicably, Teddy Roosevelt starts quoting Winston Churchill and John F Kennedy.

The specifics are a little murky, but what is clear is the magic that brings inanimate objects to life is in danger of disappearing forever (a franchiseandrsquos greatest fear!). Their only hope is to go to the British Museum to ask Ahkmenrahandrsquos (Rami Malek) parents for help.

As in the previous movies, andldquoSecret of the Tombandrdquo buckles under the weight of its phenomenally talented cast who just arenandrsquot given enough to do, making it feel more like a movie of cameos rather than a true ensemble work. That said, Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan, once again, provide many of the filmandrsquos laughs as the pint-sized Jedediah and Octavius — as does Ricky Gervais as the wimpy museum directorIn London, weandrsquore introduced to a few new characters, including Lancelot (Dan Stevens) and a new nighttime security guard named Tilly (Rebel Wilson).

Both are great, but Lancelot, in particular, truly steals the movie with his sidesplitting fairy-tale bravado. Thereandrsquos also a terrific andldquoCamelotandrdquo related cameo later on in the film that we wonandrsquot spoil here.

But the weaker spots are hard to ignore. The movie spends too much time on a few plots and jokes that never hit.

One involves Larryandrsquos Neanderthal doppelgandaumlnger (both are played by Ben Stiller) who should be a welcome relief, finally allowing Stiller to escape the unexciting Larry and bite into something broadly comedic. Instead, itandrsquos flat and redundant.

Another focuses on Larry and his teenage son Nicky (Skyler Gisondo, replacing the previous filmsandrsquo Jake Cherry), who really just wants to skip college and DJ in Ibiza Why we even need a family story here is beyond comprehension. Thereandrsquos nothing duller than watching a father with a furrowed brow try to convince his rebellious offspring that college is necessary.

Itandrsquos too bad: Left to his own devices, Gisondo has a handful of truly funny moments with Lancelot.In the end, andldquoSecret of the Tombandrdquo certainly wasnandrsquot necessary, but its earnest goofiness is hard to resist.

The bittersweet goodbye to Williams just makes it all the more worthwhile. Two-and-a-half stars out of four.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman