Sara Vilkomerson’s Third Stringer: Ride ‘Em, Wilson!

c thirdstringernatm2 650 Sara Vilkomersons Third Stringer: Ride Em, Wilson!Is it weird that of all the great Owen Wilson screen performances out there—we’re including The Royal Tenenbaums, Zoolander and Marley and Me—we kinda love him the best as the itsy-bitsy miniature cowboy Jedediah in these Night at the Museum movies? We can’t explain it. … The man says “flapjack” and we’re sold. So, yes, we’re talking about Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Following up on the immensely successful 2006 film, Ben Stiller and the gang are mainly back together again (apparently, cough, Carla Gugino was not available), and we’d explain the plot to you … but do you really need that? Suffice it to say things come alive, this time at the Smithsonian, which gave director Shawn Levy and screenwriters Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon oodles more to play around with—a giant scary Octopus, Ivan the Terrible (Christopher Guest), Napoleon (Alain Chabat) and Al Capone (Jon Bernthal), all of whom serve Hank Azaria (playing the evil Egyptian ruler, Kahmunrah, but who seems to be doing a riff on his Birdcage character, lisp and all). And there’s love! Amy Adams looks to be having great fun portraying Amelia Earhart and trying to smooch Mr. Stiller. Steve Coogan (as the Roman emperor Octavius) and Mr. Wilson get all the laughs (our favorite part involves Mr. Coogan riding a squirrel on the White House lawn). But we have the same question as we did from watching the first installment: Who cleans up all the mess once nighttime is over?

svilkomerson@observer.com