Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, the abysmal sequel to the already lugubrious Night at the Museum, received some interesting competition in gross-out comedy Dance Flick last weekend. While the films play to different portions of the under-30 market---Museum to the kiddies, Dance Flick to the teens---the films can be compared in their execution, offering up some dos and don'ts in commercial comedy filmmaking.
Museum is infuriating in its condescension. In case we don't get that this is a fantasy, anything remotely magical is accompanied by tinkling chimes over the soundtrack. If we do not believe that this is, in fact, a comedy, alleged comedians like Christopher Guest and Ben Stiller stuff the film full of meandering riffs that were probably hilarious on set but are interminable to sit through. And if we realize there is no genuine meaning to any of this drivel, the script tacks on some horseshit moral, straight from Hollywood's Rolodex of questionable life lessons to insert into shallow films, that says you can't have a successful career and nurturing relationships at the same time.