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Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)

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Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Image credit: Doane Gregory
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
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Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

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Details Release Date: May 22, 2009; Rated: PG; Length: 105 Minutes; Genres: Comedy, Kids and Family; With: Ben Stiller; Distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

Starring: Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Hank Azaria, Robin Williams
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Release date: May 22

When the first Night at the Museum opened in late 2006 to mixed reviews, no one predicted it would become a monster hit. But the family comedy-adventure yarn, about a Museum of Natural History guard (Stiller) who's stunned when the museum's exhibits come to life, had some serious legs. And $251 million in grosses later, Levy is feeling the heat with his sequel: ''There's a whole different level of expectation with this one. It's not just the summer — it's freaking Memorial Day!'' So how to top the first film? For starters, the action shifts to Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution. ''The Smithsonian is 19 museums, so the scope of things that can come to life is far more diverse,'' says Levy. ''It's not just creatures — it's artwork and aircraft and a lot of cool s---.'' To keep things on a human scale, the film introduces a romance involving Amelia Earhart (Adams), as well as a new villain: an evil pharaoh (Azaria) bent on world domination. ''The first film never really had a bad guy,'' Stiller notes. Azaria, who also stars in this summer's Year One as the Jewish patriarch Abraham, was happy to oblige. ''Not a bad year, playing the father of the Jews and an Egyptian pharaoh,'' says Azaria, drily. ''On Passover, I might attack myself.''

Originally posted Apr 15, 2009 Published in issue #1044-1045 Apr 24, 2009 Order article reprints