Cast: Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Hank Azaria, Owen Wilson, Christopher Guest, Bill Hader, Ricky Gervais and Robin Williams.
Stuff I Didn’t Like:
- Pretty much every aspect of the film is blown out of proportion and played for laughs. It’s predictable given the nature of this movie, but it gets tiresome after a while.
- Bill Hader is being Bill Hader. He’s not really playing Custer, he’s playing Bill Hader dressed up as Custer. When he’s in the same film as actors like Robin Williams and Amy Adams, it’s clear to see how one-note he really is. I’m not a fan.
- Again falling on the side of predictability, the three cherubs were the Jonas brothers. Hoping to hook some of the tween crowd breathlessly awaiting the film adaptation of New Moon, were you lads?
- Jed has guns. Why didn’t he just shoot his way out of the hourglass? I also don’t know how Amelia Earhart flew to New York from Washington and back again with only one hour remaining until dawn, considering that she’d fallen out of the sky when she returned to ‘normal’ but I guess my brain just woke up before it was supposed to during the film.
Stuff I Liked:
- I like seeing actors having a good time. Hank Azaria and Christopher Guest in particular seem to be having a ball chewing on the scenery.
- Despite being reduced to bit roles, the returns of Octavius, Sacajawea and Ahkmenrah were welcome ones. I’d have given them more to do, to be honest. They were given pretty good fleshing out in the first film, and are tossed aside for some of the spectacles here in the sequel, with one exception.
- Ben Stiller, while not a favorite of mine, is at his best when he’s not expected to be overtly silly or gross. Sure, his characters in Zoolander, Dodgeball and Tropic Thunder are amusing, but roles like this and his straight man to Bill Pullman’s neurotic detective in Zero Effect are more appealing to me. He’s a little deadpan, a little sarcastic, and seems to be trying to maintain some sanity in the midst of the insanity that is this film’s entire premise. He could have hammed it up right along with Hank, but he doesn’t.
- Considering what Lucas did to my childhood, it’s nice to see Vader getting dissed.
- It’s hard for me not to like Robin Williams.
Stuff I Loved:
- It’s also hard for me not to adore Amy Adams. She’s in this category, and not the previous one, because she’s a lot easier on the eyes than Robin. (Sorry, Mr. Williams.) People who know me know I’m a sucker for redheads. There’s also the fact that Ms. Adams is a good and well-balanced actress who can do comedy without being overtly silly and conveys pathos without being melodramatic.
- Abraham Lincoln, as a character, is always a delight for me. Right before seeing this film I watched The Amazing Screw-On Head and I really liked him in that, as well.
- The bit with the paintings was clever. I also enjoyed little things like the balloon-dog art prancing around and barking, and the Wright Brothers eating space-age ice cream sandwiches. Those bits had me smiling more than some of the more obvious “HAY THIS IS FUNNY SO LAUGH” parts. I have to admit that I did laugh at the squirrel trying to be fierce, especially when acting as Octavius’ “noble steed.”
- The Air & Space museum is a long-standing favorite of mine going back decades (literally) and so seeing it both as it is and as it would be if brought to life was a delight.
Not much else to say on this one. If you liked the first film or have children it might be worth seeing, otherwise I say use the ticket money for groceries, or go see Star Trek again.
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