Picks and Pans Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

UPDATED 06/01/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/01/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria | PG |

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FAMILY Maybe it's the history major in me, but I was amused by this sequel to 2006's Night at the Museum. It's packed with departed greats who come to life (howdy, Abe Lincoln!) in Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution to help ex-museum guard Larry Daley (Stiller) foil a despotic reanimated Egyptian pharaoh (Azaria, ripely amusing). Unlike the first film, which was loud and labored, this one is loosey-goosey and crammed with fun asides. It includes one chase too many, but why complain when General Custer (Bill Hader) is leading the charge? Minor quibble: Museum sneaks in paintings, such as Grant Wood's "American Gothic," that actually hang in other cities. Shhh, don't tell the children.

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