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Review

Laughing, singing with ‘Muppets Most Wanted’

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March 28, 2014

It is time to play the music; it is time to light the lights. It is time for “Muppets Most Wanted,” bringing good humor and gags back to the theaters they belong in.

Movie poster for Muppets Most Wanted.
“Muppets Most Wanted” stars Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey.

Even the Muppets know that a sequel is inevitable with any great Hollywood flick, and there going on a European tour for theirs. Aided by their new manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), Kermit’s leadership is brought under questioning and Badguy is playing it all to the advantage of his newly-freed boss Constantine, the greatest thief in the world.

Looking very much like Kermit, Constantine trades places with the showman frog in order to steal a priceless treasure along the Muppets tour, leaving Kermit in the prison he escaped. Kermit will need to trust his skills and his friends’ perception if the Muppets are going to see their next show together.

The Muppets were not something I grew up with too much, but I really grew to appreciate them when they came back to us in their earlier film, called “The Muppets.” The first film in their new series was jam packed with so many clever jokes, celebrity cameos and puppet slapstick that it really did show why the Muppets were so loved to begin with and why they are timeless. With “The Muppets Most Wanted,” it does not reach the same emotional levels as the first film, but like any good sequel, it does enough to keep you thoroughly entertained.

Usually I would knock a film for using a plot that has been used many times before, used here is the switched places plot. However, what can be really appreciated is how fresh the film makes it feel, that even though you know there is going to be a big villain reveal at the end, you are still sucked in through the comedy and musical numbers.

Speaking of musical numbers, this film is chock full of them. Having the same music director from the last film, “The Muppets Most Wanted” has plenty of toe-tappingly good songs that make you laugh as much as you want to sing along. It is good to see that even in a sequel the music of the Muppets is not squandered or downplayed in importance.

Cameos from celebrities are also prevalent, as is with every Muppet movie, and they are all used to the advantage of the comedy. Ricky Gervais plays a good henchman, Ty Burell plays a hilariously inept detective and Tina Fey is great as a Broadway-obsessed jail warden. Each cameo role is done well, even though the film does have that feeling that they had to draw from a deeper well of celebrities.

“Muppets Most Wanted” is not a perfect film though, despite the fun I had. It does suffer from a few awkwardly set up jokes and plotlines that do not necessarily get resolved, along with it needing to utilize its Muppet cast a bit more; after all, it is a Muppet film, so use them often and with gusto. Even with the movie being very self-aware that it is a sequel and is not going to be as good as the earlier film, I still craved the same emotional ties and satire that pervaded the first film.

“Muppets Most Wanted” is what I would call a good movie, a good Muppet movie, but overall settling for slightly lower ambition and selling itself short. These are the Muppets, and their popularity is deservedly coming back, so why not go all out and make the crowd cheer for more?

For what it is worth, “Muppets Most Wanted” is a funny and entertaining picture that carries a good recommendation from me that will titillate young and adult fans alike, though it may leave you with a hunger for more of the wackiness and ambition the first film had.

Ryan Funes is a lover of all things movie, TV, video games and stories and wants to become a television writer someday. In his spare time he enjoys hanging with friends, tapping into his imagination, and watching cartoons of all kinds.