When I heard this movie was coming out I was geeked. I loved the first movie and as a history buff and hoping to work in a museum one day, this movie was right up my alley. Plus I was uber excited because the story takes place in the Smithsonian and in DC, right near me.
A lot of old characters returned although their roles are smaller in this film. I liked Sacagawea but she barely spoke in this film. And Steve Coogan and Owen Wilson are always a rip roaring hoot. LOVED the scene with Steve and the White House lawn. It was nice seeing some new faces such as Amy Adams (whom I adore) as Amelia Earhart and Bill Hader (who's always a riot) as Custer. It killed me when he combed his hair. I also thought it was quite funny how Larry gives him the pep talk about coming up with a new "last stand" when the reasons for Custer's original Last Stand are quite despicable. I like Hank Azaria but he was rather over the top in his role here. Plus his lisp was never explained. I could understand if they didn't want to make fun of it but it was just so obvious that I thought someone would comment on it and they never did. Also geeked to see Darth Vader (of course) and Oscar the Grouch. I had just seen Oscar at the American History museum weeks prior to seeing the film so it was doubly exciting. I was disappointed that Carla Gugino's character wasn't even mentioned at all in this movie. I mean no offense to Ricky Gervasis but they brought back his character and not Carla's even though there was romance with her and Larry? And yes Ben Stiller is funny again as Larry, he's perfect for the role.
The biggest discrepancy that really bugged me was how in the world Amelia was able to fly back to DC from New York alive. The tablet is staying in New York so that means all the exhibits in DC are already back to normal and aren't able to come alive. So once Amelia leaves Larry she technically should become back to a wax figure again almost immediately. I know it's movie magic but it's still a big glaring plot hole. I did feel that there was a lot of special effects done in this movie, perhaps a bit too much. I think sometimes it took away from the film especially when paintings and sculptures came to life. Oh and I don't think a kid could access all the secret tunnels in the museums that quickly online, they are government building after all.
I personally found all the cameos from the cast of the Office to be rather interesting. There was Ed Helms (Andy) as Larry's co-worker, Mindy Kaling (Kelly) as a tour guide and Craig Robinson (Darrell) as a Tuskegee airman. Plus Amy Adams guest starred in a few episodes and of course Ricky Gervasis invented The Office with his British version.
Overall while I did enjoy the movie, it was mostly mediocre. I felt that it could have been done a lot better. However, it has sparked more interest in history and museums and attendance to the Smithsonian museums has increased due to the movie. There's no great loss without some gain.