Once again, a great premise and funny star are rendered flaccid by poor execution. Too bad Ben Stiller didn’t use some of his star powers to get Shawn Levy—who also directed the first film—off this project. For a film where inanimate objects come to life, this one is pretty lifeless. Stiller returns as Larry, now a successful inventor who has moved on from his museum job. When he hears that the exhibit from his old gig is being shipped off to storage at the Smithsonian, he flies into action to save his friends. Amy Adams appears as a suddenly super hot Amelia Earhart, and the likes of Owen Wilson, Robin Williams and Steve Coogan return to their poorly written roles. Many of the jokes fall flat, and Stiller seriously looks like he’s having a terrible time. I will give kudos to the wardrobe department and their accomplishments regarding Amy Adams’s tight pants, but that’s as far as I’m taking the flattery.

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