Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Shawn Levy

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Shawn Levy
In the early days of DVD, a two-disc set was something special. Now, in 2009, we have the "Two-Disc Monkey Mischief Pack" of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which devotes its entire second disc of extras to three short documentaries about Crystal and Squirt, the monkeys who portrayed Abel and Dexter. One of them, entitled "Primate Prima Donnas," begins with Ricky Gervais saying to Squirt, "What? They pay you peanuts?," a sad little exchange that filled me with the intense desire to watch my DVDs of The Office instead. There are also two monkey-themed interactive games that should appeal to very, very slow children. Those who are not unreasonably amused by monkeys would be better off with the single-disc edition, which, while admittedly short on monkey-related tomfoolery, does feature commentary by director Shawn Levy, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, a gag reel and an eminently skippable mockumentary on how the Jonas Brothers were cast as the Cherubs. With this consumer report out of the way, we can turn our attention to the movie, which is essentially the same film as 2006's Night at the Museum but louder and more chaotic, following ex-museum security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) as he tries to save his living exhibit friends from the basement of the Smithsonian, where he butts heads with sinister Pharaoh Kuhmunrah (Hank Azaria) and develops sparks of romance with an aggressively plucky Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams). This film will greatly amuse anyone whose idea of hilarity involves elaborate costumes, silly wigs, goofy voices and aimless chase scenes, but it raised too many questions in me. Questions like, if the exhibits come to life every night, why hasn't the Air and Space Museum been destroyed every night? And how does the Lincoln Memorial statue talk when he apparently has cement in place of vocal chords? An additional thought: in addition to the above-mentioned names, the case also includes Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Christopher Guest, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Steve Coogan and Craig Robinson. When the hell did Shawn Levy become Robert Altman? (Fox)