Plot: When Kermit the Frog’s evil doppleganger takes over the Muppets to benefit his own criminal path, the gang bands together to rescue their green friend and restore order.
I’ll admit I went into Muppets: Most Wanted with a bit of trepidation. I loved The Muppets, a reboot of sorts to the the Muppet franchise. I felt that most of its success was based upon the creativity of star/writer Jason Segel, whose drive was to bring Jim Henson’s creation back to the silver screen after a burning out of sorts. With Segel absent from the sequel, I felt that it would lack…something. However, my worries were calmed very quickly into viewing this follow-up: Muppets: Most Wanted is a lot of fun and continues to restore the brand for a new generation of fans.
For those who complained that The Muppets spent too much time on human actors, well then, you’ll be in luck here. While some celebrities have substantial roles here, Muppets are front and center in this film as they should be. There is a ton of classic fourth wall breaking (the opening song is about doing a sequel, brilliance) and the movie even jokes about the flaws of the the previous entry. Some of the comedy does fall a little flat, but in true Muppet fashion, it won’t be long until a wise crack or pun comes out of the puppeteered mouth to make you giggle.
The songs featured are memorable and catchy, although nothing is “Life’s a Happy Song” here. Still, they feel very Muppet-y, which is a plus, as it seems that some tunes could completely escape the theme of the franchise (Chris Cooper’s rap comes to mind for many people, I’m sure).
The main human actors are all very good. Ricky Gervais channels Charles Grodin from The Great Muppet Caper as the lovable bad guy, but he is reduced to second in command to Kermit’s criminal look alike. The two have a kind of chemistry that is just a lot of fun to watch. Tina Fey is adorable as always as a Russian prison guard, and she just seems to be having a ball working with the real Kermit and the prisoners.
However, Ty Burrell probably stands out as my favorite. His exaggerated French inspector kept me in stitches, and his dialogue with Sam the Eagle (who plays a CIA agent) is rip roaringly funny. Burrell pokes fun at the European way of life many times, and each of the jokes are better than before. All in all, Muppets: Most Wanted makes great use of its three main actors. And the cameos! Whoa, who WASN’T in this movie? Here, each actor who has smaller role actually is given something to do, unlike in The Muppets, where people showed up and disappeared within seconds and without lines.
The movie isn’t without problems. Like I said, the jokes are a bit bad sometimes, and the movie does drag in a few places. Also, I don’t mind Walter, but his continuation as a fully fledged Muppet is a bit hard to take in, as his role is something Fozzie Bear could easily portray, or even Scooter or Gonzo. On the plus side, Animal (my favorite Muppet) is given a little bit more to do here, just like in The Muppets.
Overall, I’ll say it without hesitation — Muppets: Most Wanted felt more Muppet-y than The Muppets, which is a good thing. However, it isn’t without flaws, and I’m sure hardcore fans will find problems with it (there is CGI usage of the puppets, but in this day and age, it should be expected). However, it puts the gang at the front of the action and keeps the laughs and the smiles coming. As a follow-up, it could’ve been really bad. But no, the Muppets are back again and still going strong. This fan is very enthusiastically satisfied.
The Disney/Pixar short Party Central: A Monster’s University Short was also a lot of fun, and extremely creative. Two furry thumbs up.