All-star, high-concept comedy “A Day at the Museum” proves that only the French could produce a feature consisting mostly of one-liners about Gauguin, Modigliani and the sexual practices of impressionist painters. Otherwise, this spoof of an all-purpose art museum by writer-director Jean-Michel Ribes (who penned Alain Resnais’ “Private Fears in Public Places”) offers little for viewers who don’t find puns on the noun Kandinsky or jokes like, “Is Matisse a Jewish name?” especially funny. Pic’s marquee cast should draw early crowds in Gaul, but poor word of mouth will close this exhibit before it ever travels abroad.
Despite an intriguing idea — who doesn’t want to make fun of the high-art world? — most of the film’s gags are a lot less clever than the works they’re poking fun at. Somewhere in between lies a threadbare plot involving a natural disaster threatening the existence of the wacky institution, as herds of ignorant tourists shuffle from one gallery to the next, making stupid comments or facing shocking displays of contemporary art (including — surprise of surprises — giant-penis photos). Pic was shot partially at the restored Musee du Petit Palais.