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Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 94 minutes.

OK for children.

I canít remember when a movie has surprised me as much as this one. I was so much not a fan of the first one and I thought the second even worse, despite the presence of Amy Adams and a fine performance by Hank Azaria. Azaria was so good itís mystifying why he wasnít invited back. Had there been anything else screening the night I saw this newest iteration I wouldíve chosen the alternative.

The bottom line is, this is exceptionally funny. Like the first two, it is still filled with stars like the late Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt and Owen Wilson as Jedediah, a 19th century cowboy. Ben Stiller is still the glue, the night guard who is present when all the Museum displays come to life every night. Other familiar faces are Ricky Gervais as Dr. McPhee, Stillerís boss, Dick Van Dyke, and the late Mickey Rooney. Ben Kingsley is one of the newcomers.

The plot line is better than the first two, and maybe thatís why I liked it so much more. But another, bigger reason is that the script (David Guion & Michael Handelman) is written by different people than those responsible for the first two, and it contains lots of laugh-out-loud lines. Many of them are uttered by Dan Stevens, who plays a perplexed Sir Lancelot and is new to the cast. Stevens sparkles as the guy from Camelot who just doesnít understand whatís going on.

For director Shawn Levy, the third time is the charm because this is a gem.