13 September 2015

Movie Review: “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”

Rated: PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Robin Williams
Released: December 25, 2014
Synopsis: For quite a while, the displays at the New York Museum come to life at night thanks to a magical Egyptian tablet.  Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), the “night watchman,” has been putting on shows and entertaining people with the displays…but, during one showing, things go awry.  Larry soon discovers that it’s the tablet causing the problems…but he doesn’t know how to fix it.  His quest takes him to a history museum in England, to meet the Egyptian pharaoh who knows the secrets of the tablet.  To get there, though, he’ll need the help of his museum display friends, including Teddy Roosevelt (the late Robin Williams in one of his final roles), and he’ll have to get by the night watchwoman (Rebel Wilson) of the British museum.
Also features a cameo appearance by Dick Van Dyke (Diagnosis: Murder).

The Good: This last(?) entry in the beloved family film series has many cute moments.  I was completely unfamiliar with Rebel Wilson before seeing this, but, her British accent was adorable, and Teddy Roosevelt and Sacajawea made a cute couple.  The final scenes were rather endearing, and made for a fitting ending; that’s from someone who’s been with this series from the very beginning.

The Bad: As cute and innocent as this was, it was a bit edgier than I’ve come to expect from this series.  With three uses of the h-word and right many sexual references—some of which were of the homosexual variety—as well as crude humor involving bodily functions, this is not as clean as the previous films in the series.  Discerning viewers may want to take note.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: At least five or six sexual remarks, most of which imply homosexuality. 3/5
  • Nudity: A guy’s costume shows his midriff; a woman shows cleavage; another woman in a strapless top. 3/5
  • Language: Three uses of the h-word; euphemisms such as “heck” are heard occasionally. 4/5
  • Violence: Fantasy and slapstick violence is seen throughout. 2/5
  • Drugs: None. 5/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: All of the exhibits nearly meet their end; in many cases, more than once.  A man is held at swordpoint.  The ending is bittersweet. 2/5
  • Other: Gags involving bodily functions. 3/5
Conclusion: I’ve been a big fan of Robin Williams’ family-friendly works—Flubber, Mork & Mindy, etc.—for quite a while; since this was his final such film, I had high hopes for it.  Though rather cute and sweet at times, the discerning viewer in me was a bit bothered by some of the content.  Like a lot of entertainment these days, it reminds me of an iconic movie quotation: “You may find Narnia a more savage place than you remember.” While older viewers may not mind too much, those with kids may want to think twice about letting them watch this, despite its “PG” label.

Score: 3/5

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