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Sometimes an actor makes a decision that suggests the writing is on the wall. Signing onto a new film is usually a telling sign about the movie they’ve just made, particularly if it’s high-profile. How else to explain Harrison Ford joining the cast of The Expendables 3 just days before the release of box office bomb Paranoia? And how else to explain how Ben Stiller apparently noted the quality of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty before opting to tackle Night At The Museum 3, a movie that no human being ever requested? Granted, that second film did make $413 million worldwide, but five years later, was anyone asking for a trilogy? And does this mean Stiller knew that Walter Mitty would be tracking as poorly as it is? Does Ben Stiller have mind powers? Is he a Scanner?
Ignoring the fact that these movies are difficult to sit through, they often to have surprisingly great casts. The second film boasted Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, Steve Coogan, Christopher Guest, Bill Hader, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Mindy Kaling, Jonah Hill and Ed Helms, because movies like this are how someone pays the bills on their Malibu mansion. The second picture also featured Ricky Gervais in a small role, and fortunately for those continuity nuts, he's back playing Dr. McPhee, the boss to Stiller’s frazzled security guard character Larry Daley.
Gervais is something of a lightning rod ever since he finished the British run of the original The Office. Follow-up Extras was well-received, and he rightfully earned plaudits for his intentionally-obnoxious hosting of the Golden Globes, of which he did twice. But his recent Netflix series Derek found him playing a developmentally disabled man working at a nursing home, and despite being some sort of "gentle comedy" it still reminded many of Stiller’s Simple Jack from Tropic Thunder.
Gervais hasn’t had much of a film career, and his big shots at stardom The Invention Of Lying and Ghost Town, were largely ignored. While his accomplishments are many, in America he’s teetering towards "famous for being famous" territory, particularly with an appearance in the upcoming Muppets Most Wanted. Deadline also reports that he’s developing his children’s book Flanimals for a feature film with Illumination Entertainment, who just made roughly a billion dollars on Despicable Me 2. In case you’re getting that these super-edgy comedians actually make the bulk of their money playing to children’s audiences with stuff like Flanimals and Night At The Museum, congratulations, get yourself a cookie. A Pecan Sandy, specifically.
Night At The Museum 3 is set to be released Christmas Day 2014, and has a script by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant and David Guion and Michael Handelman, and all those "ands" are intentional, because you never know with these WGA rules. Robin Williams is also scheduled to return to the series, so this Christmas, if you’re too much of a jerk parent to take your kids to an actual museum, you can sit them down for Night At The Museum 3 and pass out while some of the world’s greatest comedians act out material that is completely beneath them.