UK Release Date: 19th December 2014
Runtime: 98 minutes
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: David Guion, Michael Handelman
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Dan Stevens, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Rebel Wilson
Synopsis: When their magical tablet begins to decay and rot, the band of museum exhibits must travel to London in order to find out what’s happening.
With its wacky premise and strong array of comedy stars, the Night at the Museum franchise has become hugely popular. Secret of the Tomb is the final film in the trilogy and features one of the final big screen appearances of comic icon Robin Williams, who passed away last summer.
Larry (Ben Stiller) is set to impress his boss (Ricky Gervais) with a display of his moving museum exhibits when Teddy (Robin Williams) begins to malfunction. The magical tablet that awakens them is rotting away and the gang must travel to London to reverse the process. There, they must contend with a talkative security guard (Rebel Wilson) and brave exhibit Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens).
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is a desperately dull comedy, almost entirely free of laughs. The central conceit ran out of steam long ago and this latest entry in the series does nothing to address the stale setup. It’s predominantly an hour and a half of bland toilet humour, delivered by actors who are obviously just going through the motions.
| "Smile, my boy. It’s almost sunrise."
Ben Stiller continues his current string of near-identical comic performances as museum guard Larry. Larry is a character who doesn’t develop in any way, with scenes involving his son throwing light on just how uninteresting he is rather than actually allowing a glimpse of his humanity.
The supporting cast of Night at the Museum: The Secret of the Tomb fare no better. Steve Coogan and Owen Wilson fall into their roles like an old comfort blanket and actually deliver a few semi-amusing lines. However, they’re in the trailer so don’t justify the price of a cinema ticket. Only Dan Stevens emerges relatively unscathed, going big and broad as Sir Lancelot, especially when he becomes involved in a solid third act A-list cameo scene.
Ramshackle plotting turns the film into a shapeless mess. Once the team have entered London, the action devolves into a series of boring clashes between the central characters and a series of CGI beasties. Even the all-action finale is less a result of story progression and more just another bland showdown.
| "You always put the monkey in charge?"
The emotional climax of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb brings everything to a weak conclusion. For the characters in the film, this is a pivotal goodbye, but it has no resonance for the audience – a resonance that is lacking in every frame of this stubbornly inert flick.
Pop or Poop?
There’s almost nothing in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb to justify the success of the franchise.
Aside from Dan Stevens’ fun work as Sir Lancelot and a couple of third act surprises, this is a film that steadfastly refuses to deviate from its bland formula.
At least it’s (probably) the last one.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.