Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: Friday, March 21st, 2014
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild action
Approximate Runtime: 107 minutes
Starring Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and Tina Fey
Directed by James Bobin
"We're doing a sequel," Kermit the Frog sings in the deliriously catchy opening musical number. "We're back by popular demand." And are the Muppets ever back. Following their triumphant return to the silver screen in 2011's The Muppets, Jim Henson's fuzzy creations wreak even more hilarious mayhem in Disney's [Muppets Most Wanted](movie:368772), which literally picks up directly from where its predecessor left off.
Having just gotten back "together again," Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Walter, and the rest of the gang are on a world revival tour through Europe. Little do they know that it's all part of a dastardly scheme devised by Constantine, the world’s most evil frog (who bears a striking resemblance to Kermit), to steal the world’s greatest treasures. Now Kermit, who is stuck in a Russian prison, and the rest of the Muppets must stop Constantine from pulling off the crime of the century.
All my life, I’ve been a huge fan of the Muppets, and I’ll even go so far as to say that Kermit the Frog is a personal hero of mine. While Muppets Most Wanted may not reach the lofty heights of its predecessor, which reinvigorated the once dormant franchise, it is in keeping with the Muppets’ trademark anarchic sense of humor and tender sentimentality.
As with all of the previous Muppet movies, there are so many lovable Muppet characters and fleeting celebrity cameos that this film often feels overstuffed and overly busy. But whomever your favorite character may be, Gonzo, Statler and Waldorf, Rowlf the Dog, the Swedish Chef, and the rest all have their moments to shine. In addition to the usual Muppets mirth and merriment, we have a great lineup of comedic talents in the human roles, including Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and Tina Fey, plus countless cameos that I don’t dare spoil in this review.
As much as I enjoyed this film, I do have two major problems with it. Number one—the plot. It’s stale and derivative. We’ve seen this exact same plot in a billion other movies—hell, an extremely similar plot was used in 1981’s The Great Muppet Caper—and I never had any doubt during the entire 107-minute running time what would happen and when it would happen. And number two—the overuse of CGI and some truly terrible green screen effects. I understand that it’s cheaper and more efficient to shoot against a backdrop as opposed to real locations, but it’s completely distracting and there are times when it looked legitimately awful.
At any rate, Muppets Most Wanted is a ton of fun. Despite a predictable plot with a predictable outcome, it features lots of huge laughs and fantastic musical numbers written by the Academy Award-winning songwriter of the first film, Flight of the Conchords’ Brett McKenzie. It has a cheeky, self-referential humor that adults—especially those with nostalgia for Muppet adventures of old—may appreciate more than their kids, but no matter what your age, Muppets Most Wanted will make you fall in love with those wacky puppets all over again.
Verdict: See it!