Entertainment :: Movies

Muppets Most Wanted

by Kevin Taft
Contributor
Friday Mar 21, 2014
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Ricky Gervais co-stars with Kermit the Frog in ’Muppets Most Wanted’
Ricky Gervais co-stars with Kermit the Frog in ’Muppets Most Wanted’  

It’s time to play the music! It’s time to light the lights! It’s time to meet the Muppets... again! Yep, those spongy rascals from Jim Henson’s imagination are back and they are as feisty, hilarious, and comical as ever!

Reuniting most of the creative team behind the reboot "The Muppets," the sequel "Muppets Most Wanted" is written by Nicholas Stoller and James Bobin as well as directed by Bobin. Beginning seconds after the first film ended, we find the Muppets wondering, "What’s next?" They had success, but they aren’t sure where to go or what to do. When someone suggests they do a sequel, well... time for a musical number! "We’re Doing a Sequel" is the first of a succession of pointedly clever musical numbers that not only tickle your funny bone, but harken back to a number of different musical genres from Busby Berkley to ’70s smooth jazz.

But doing a sequel isn’t enough. The Muppets need to make money. So after they are approached by a band manager with the last name of Badguy (Ricky Gervais) they decide to go on a World Tour. But Badguy isn’t who he appears to be. (Well, I guess he is.). He has teamed up with the World’s Number One criminal, Constantine who just happens to be a dead-ringer for Kermit (except for the unfortunate mole on his cheek). So the two decide to use the Muppets as a distraction to pull off a heist. To do so, Constantine must kidnap Kermit and take his place without anyone knowing. This isn’t as easy as he thinks since his Russian accent is a bit thick, but, Muppets being Muppets, they barely notice it. And thusly, an international caper begins.

The adventure that our loveable gang gets involved with includes Nadya (Tina Fey) a Russian Gulag warden who lords over Kermit after he is placed in prison when he is mistaken for Constantine. Ty Burrell shows up as a French Interpol Agent who is forced to team up with Sam the Eagle in order to solve the riddle of a number of crimes being committed right where the Muppets are having tour dates. Along the way there are smatterings of amusing cameos, none of which will be spoiled here because they are a load of fun.

Basically, the whole movie is just that: Fun. From the random jokes to the toe-tapping musical numbers, this is a movie that you laugh out loud in and skip out of the theatre humming. Not to mention, it’s fairly emotionally investing, which is odd for a movie that is focused solely on inanimate objects that don’t even blink. It’s amazing to watch a film like this and see how devoted everyone gets to it. The Muppets are real to so many people and the talented cast and crew bring them to vibrant, colorful life.

The best part of the film is the fact that it truly is for the whole family. It’s not just "family-friendly." Here the jokes and gags are split between what kids will get, what only adults will get, and what both will enjoy. (I mean, there’s a "Seventh Seal" joke!) And it makes for a rollicking good time. Not to mention, all of our favorites are back: Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Kermit, Gonzo, Animal (taking a larger role), Sam the Eagle (also a larger role), and so many more. Sure, it’s hard to find a way to give all the Muppets their moment, but Bobin and friends do their best making this sequel -- dare I say -- better than its predecessor!

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."

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