Nice, not as good as the last one but it would have been hard to top by any means. Muppets Most Wanted retain most of the troupe’s exuberance despite Kermit being stuck in a Siberian prison most of the time. Ricky Gervais is the bad guy, or, Dominic Badguy by name. Dominic promises fame and fortune to the gang, but Kermit is framed and replaced by Constantine (the most wanted frog in the world!), an imposter speaking in a Russian accent. Ty Burrell is the Interpol agent, alongside Muppet Sam the Eagle, investigating museum thefts across Europe for which the rest of the Muppets will be framed for. Tina Fey is the prison block commandant who has a special eye out for Kermit, so special, she has a worship shrine of Kermit in her closet. There are many other cameos. Sometimes the stars play themselves. Lady Gaga, Salma Hayek, Danny Trejo…
When the Muppets get shoehorned into a semi-convoluted caper, as they did in 1981’s “The Great Muppet Caper,” it can put a small damper on the fun. The direction is still energetic nonetheless and the musical numbers daff: We’re Doing a Sequel is a shamelessly funny first song. Kermit is assigned director of a prisoner musical revue, so hey quick, cue all the macho tough guys crooning and twirly-dancing for the camera! All in all, there’s still forty minutes of goofy music this time, some cover songs and some new songs by Bret McKenzie. It’s all very cute.
To keep in line with the crime story atmosphere, the cinematography is greyer and darker. That doesn’t stop the spunk and doggedness of our heroes. Leave it to Walter, the newest of the Muppets, to catch something fishy going on with Dominic. There will be a jailbreak, a concert performance, Miss Piggy’s interrupted wedding, a thwarted crime committed by imposters, and blessedly, another musical number.
“Muppets Most Wanted” is an entertaining enough placeholder until the next installment comes around. All I ask for is no more Siberian prisons in this franchise. It’s a little much. However, grant me this pause: I’ve reviewed quite a few other movies coming out in the next month since seeing the new “Muppets.” Now that I think about, despite the confines of the material, this is a really happy time at the movies.
112 Minutes. Rated PG.
FAMILY FILM / GOOFY / WEEKEND FAMILY MOVIE
Film Cousins: “The Muppet Movie” (1979); “The Great Muppet Caper” (1981); “The Muppets Take Manhattan” (1984); “The Muppets” (2011).