Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian


Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (*½)

Confusion actually led me to this film. I had intended to take my daughter to see Up, but the listing I followed to the cinema apparently had yet to be updated. Once we were inside, looking up at the board, I couldn’t simply take her hand and say, “Too bad, we’re going home.”

Especially after she saw that Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was playing. Score one for soulless target marketing.

The script, penned by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!) was, to say the least, lackluster: slipshod story construction, shallow character development, and cheap comic gags abound. If anything characterizes Hollywood’s low aim, it is these enterprise or “franchise” films. Night at the Museum is all about merchandising and brand recognition. Actual content is an afterthought. Still, though, the prospect of good money pushes these projects forward; after all, they got three films out of Problem Child and Look Who’s Talking alike. Both projects were throughly abysmal, and leaves one wondering how bad the third Museum film can possibly be. With any luck, bad enough to be shelved.

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Quote of the Week — Simon on Spinney


Associated Press business writer Ellen Simon on the awesome and inimitable Caroll Spinney, best known as Big Bird:

Spinney got his start on Sesame Street during its first season in 1969, after Muppets founder Jim Henson saw him perform at a puppeteer’s convention.

Henson chose him as Big Bird after Frank Oz, who helped develop Bert, Grover and Cookie Monster, swore off costume puppets following a stint in commercials as the La Choy Dragon, which was equipped with an in-costume flame-thrower.