Like its predecessor, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is a mix of genuinely funny performances and highly lazy storytelling. You know how it goes: the plot is inane, but a lot of the dialogue makes you laugh. It's hard to respect a movie like that -- but, then again, I'm pretty sure "respect" isn't really what they were going for anyway.

In the sequel, Larry Daley, the hapless former security guard played by Ben Stiller, is now a successful TV pitchman, having invented such handy products as the glow-in-the-dark flashlight. It's been a couple years since he visited his pals at the American Museum of Natural History -- you know, the exhibits and models that come to life after dark, thanks to the magic of an Egyptian artifact -- and when he does, he's alarmed to learn that most of them are being shipped off to the Smithsonian archives in Washington D.C., where they'll sit in storage crates for the foreseeable future.

This is progress, it seems. Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais), Larry's old boss, tells him that people are bored with dioramas and wax figures. They want holograms and robots. All these old-fashioned pieces are going to be replaced with state-of-the-art technology like a talking Teddy Roosevelt -- which, strangely, speaks with the same voice as the waxwork Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) from the first film. What, did the graphic artists who created the computer program see him come to life late one night and record his voice? (Sorry. I'll try to keep that sort of thing to a minimum for the rest of the review.)