Movie Review: Muppets Most Wanted

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The Muppets go on a European tour, while Kermit changes places with Constantine, The World’s Most Dangerous Frog.

starsonepointfive

James Bobin, 2014

After their successful return in the first movie, the Muppets are talked into going on a European tour by their new manager, the appropriately monikered Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais). Badguy manipulates Kermit into taking a walk alone where he is forced into switching places with the almost identical Constantine, a criminal mastermind who has just broken out of prison. Kermit is taken back to the Gulag, where he befriends the warden (Tina Fey), while Constantine uses the Muppets’ shows as a cover to steal from important locations across Europe. These robberies are investigated by the crack team of French investigator Napoleon (Ty Burrell) and American agent Sam Eagle.

Muppets-Most-Wanted-Poster

The Muppets was an incredibly successful comeback for everybody’s favourite absurdist cameo-friendly puppet troop. It contained a simple, heartfelt story, with a great human lead in Jason Segel and a number of funny cameos. Muppets Most Wanted is none of those things. It has the cameos, but none of the heart and very little of the funny. I think I laughed out loud twice in the movie, and at least one of those was just because Danny Trejo was playing himself in the Russian gulag. Trejo was great, and the singing toughs in the gulag were definitely a highlight of the movie, as was the chemistry in the very obviously tropey friendship between Napoleon and Eagle. Even the songs, which won songwriter “Flight of the Conchords” star Bret McKenzie an Oscar for the last film (his co-star Jemaine Clement plays one of the aforementioned prisoners in this one), mostly fall flat, the musical highlight coming from a rehash of “Together Again”.

There’s a very high level of suspension of disbelief needed to buy even the basic premise of this movie. The Muppets come across as incredibly stupid, which isn’t a great place for our heroes to be starting from. They fail to notice how bad Badguy’s plan is, how obvious it is that the audience hates their show, or the fact that “Kermit” has a thick accent, a painted beauty mark above his lip, and absolutely none of Kermit’s knowledge, traits or qualities. Of course, the thin plot only really needed to exist in support of some funny jokes or good scenarios, but there’s so little of that. Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey are neither funny nor good singers. The opening song points out the problems with churning out a sequel, and the movie proceeds to fall into every trap. Some of the gags for the shows would actually be funny (Christolph Waltz doing the waltz, for instance, is pretty great) but I’d rather just watch the show than this movie.

Muppets Most Wanted on IMDb

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