Night at the Museum 2 (PG)

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The Independent Culture

As a blockbuster that's intended to turn history into, like, fun for kids, this is not as irksome as Nicolas Cage's two National Treasure movies.

But it's still strictly insufferable. Ben Stiller returns as the one-time museum night-guard, now required to deal with waxen exhibits coming to life and causing havoc inside the Smithsonian. A precious gold tablet has fallen into the hands of a nutso Egyptian tyrant (Hank Azaria) and Ben must battle with Napoleon, Ivan the Terrible and Al Capone to save us. His historical comrade-in-arms turns out to be aviator Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams), a sort of forerunner of Katharine Hepburn who uses words such as "moxie". It's an expensively silly farrago that includes Steve Coogan's Roman general riding a squirrel and Stiller having a slapping match with a pair of capuchin monkeys – not as much fun as it sounds. There are some fancy art references at work – paintings by Turner, Hopper and Grant Wood that come to life – but one fears they'll be wasted on a target audience that just wants to see Stiller being chased by monsters.