'Muppets Most Wanted' Review: What's So Amazing, That Keeps Us Stargazing?

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Muppets Most Wanted Review: What's So Amazing, That Keeps Us Stargazing?

By Agent Bedhead | Film Reviews | March 21, 2014 | Comments ()


In 2011, The Muppets ushered in a welcome burst of nostalgia. The sequel aims to be clever by opening with an outright acknowledgment that sequels are inferior to first pictures. The film opens with the Muppets wondering what the hell to do now that the last movie (and their big show) is finished. This would be a novel approach if not for the abundance of super-meta children’s movies that already exist. Then the movie dives into a constant river of allusions to Broadway and cinematic days of yesteryear. Don’t worry, the story recovers.

Luckily, Muppets Most Wanted arrives with plenty of shades of 1981’s The Great Muppet Caper. This sequel is fantastically fun as long as you don’t expect high art. Since this a sequel, the filmmakers decided to pull the old change-of-scenery trick by heading across the pond. The Muppets seek “to conquer the world” with the help of their shady new manager, Dominic (Ricky Gervais), who has a dastardly plan involving many, many heists throughout Europe. So the Muppets have excitedly taken their show on the road, but all is not as it appears. Heists and prison stints abound, and frenetic action takes place. It’s all in good fun though because it’s the Muppets. You love the Muppets, right? Everyone does. Nobody can say a single bad thing about anything involving the Muppets. My fingers won’t let me do it either even though I live to trash movies. There’s a special something about these creatures that will forgive even a less than amazing installment.

This sequel is basically the Kermit show. Miss Piggy had decided that she and Kermit will finally get married (for real this time). Kermit, of course, has cold feet. Kermit gets kidnapped and ends up in a Siberian prison. In his place appears the Kermie doppelganger, Constantine, who relishes his reputation as “the most dangerous frog in the world.” Tina Fey stars as a Russian prison guard who loves song and dance. She really, really loves Kermit. (Oh, Tina.) The film turns into a madcap tale of vaudevillian proportions and confused identities. There is a happy ending. You’ll immediately forget about this film and go home and watch The Muppets again.

With Jason Segel and Amy Adams’ married couple out of the picture, the film lacks the same sense of heart as its predecessor. Not only did Segel star in the movie, he also co-wrote it. Now that he’s gone, the soul has left the building, too. Mostly. Muppets Most Wanted is pandemonium. That’s not a bad thing and actually matches the spirit of the old Muppet Show. The first movie was a joyous mess too, but its shameless enthusiasm and tear-jerking moments won us all over. This sequel is more of the same but only repeats the frenetic elements of the first film. It still works but isn’t as enjoyable. Most of the time, Hollywood’s effort to squeeze money out of nostalgia fails miserably. This franchise still has it nailed, but this sequel won’t win your heart the way the first movie did.

Although there are no winning human performances in this film, the cameos are great fun. We get to see Celine Dion (Miss Piggy’s idol!), James McAvoy, P. Diddy, Danny Trejo, Chloe Moretz, and sweet little Tommy Hiddleston. Christoph Waltz shows up to … waltz, which is seriously cute. Still, the humans are a big distraction here. They were integral to the first film’s story, but the second movie could do without them. I guess Hollywood can’t give up its “starpower.”

Your kids will love this movie. As long as you don’t expect it to be as delightful as the first film, you’ll like it just fine. Muppets Most Wanted is exactly what Hollywood needs: good, old-fashioned entertainment that doesn’t talk down to its audience or treat it like a group of morons with no attention span. The film includes some pleasant throwbacks to Muppets heydays, and overall, it’s sheer fun.

Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She can be found at Celebitchy.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • BWeaves

    I wish wish wish that they would give up making movies and just bring back The Muppet Show. The show was short, and the skits were even shorter, so if something didn't work, it was over quickly and moved on to the next one. Plus, it was a chance to see a single live celebrity do something odd that they'd always wanted to do, like Beverly Sills tap dancing. And it was different every week, so you weren't longing for years for the next one, and then disappointed that it didn't live up to expectations.

  • PDamian

    From your keyboard to God's attention, please. This country needs another Muppet Show. It was true family entertainment that everyone could enjoy. It was also remarkably gentle. Characters might be teased, but never taunted; the humor was at no-one's expense, or if it was, the character always got even later (and gently, too); and the celebrity guest spots were terrific (I still have fond memories of Rita Moreno singing "Fever" with Animal on drums). Best of all, no-one was flapping on and on about what they had, what brands they were wearing, or what toys were theirs that were no-one else's. Even Miss Piggy's narcissism was played for laughs, with the understanding that her selfishness was uncool. This generation of children desperately needs the lessons of the old Muppet Show.

  • Aaron Schulz

    Its SNL for everyone and it works great. Celebrities get to be goofy, fozzie gets to be awesome, and the whole world gets to see what Jim Henson saw.

  • ShagEaredVillain

    I loved this movie. It didn't move me to tears like "The Muppets" did, but my friends and I laughed loudly and constantly throughout our night at the theater.

    There's just one thing that took me out of the experience: green screen.

    I haven't seen any reviewers comment on the outrageously terrible green screen effects. Seriously, it's as though they haven't updated their technology since the fireys in "Labyrinth."

    Used sparingly on the Muppets is fine (seeing Muppets walk is its own brand of freaky, but it's sometimes necessary), but they did it way too much. Then they did it with live actors as well! They have the money of Disney behind them, and they use terrible effects, even when they're not at all necessary. It takes you right out of the moment when you're busy wondering why the world's most beloved characters look like shit.

    But, like I said, constant laughter. The humor, the cameos, the music: all spectacular.

  • Fleetwood Mac Sex Pants

    Yes! I felt exactly the same way, on both of your points - terrible green screen, but LOVED the movie! I was incredibly moved by the Jason Segal film, like everyone else, and so grateful that he brought them back to movies in a big way. But while The Muppets was funny and sweet and nostalgic in the best possible way, for me it was mostly missing that sharp, smart, laugh-til- you're-weak thing that the Muppet movies of old always had. I felt like that got lost in the sweetness a little bit, along with attention to a few favourite characters (which this sequel astutely and hilariously pointed out - but I won't spoil that joke). Anyhow, that was my favourite thing about the original Muppet movies, and the show, always: that there would be hilarious moments that literally made me laugh until tears ran down my cheeks (shout-out to Miss Piggy's scene with Joan Rivers in Muppets Take Manhattan - actually, shout out to that entire movie, it's so genius). This sequel did that for me. I just laughed and had fun, and it was great. See this, you'll have a great time.

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