I love the Muppets because of the great hand jobs going on. Listen to the voices and you can hear several Freudian slips. Yep, beneath all that foam there is a lot of ribaldry wanting to be released. The fact that half of mid-level Hollywood wants to be in a Muppet feature is a sign that Tinsel Town knows the joke. Then, I could have just a severe foam fetish whenever the Muppets start singing, dancing, goofing and punning around.
Replacing Jason Segel and Amy Adams from the last feature are Ty Burrell, Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey. To counter the conservative rubric that the Muppets are really closet Communists, half the movie is set in the former Soviet Union, with a fetching and tightly buttoned up Tina Fey in Gulag browns and fur lined Ushanka hat providing the Dominatrix, uhm, dominant feminine appeal. Ricky Gervais plays the Dominic Badguy (pronounce it as French to get the joke) role as the tour promoter with a jewel thief’s heart. Ty Burrell gets to have the Inspector Clouseau role. Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci and Jermaine Clement (half of The Flight of the Conchords) as fellow Gulagers sing, dance and mug their way through silly ditties written by Conchord camera shy composing mate, Bret Mckenzie.
Kermit gets a break from playing himself by playing his evil self, Constantine. Despite the odd Russian sounding accent the rest of the Muppets hardly notice the difference with the more nasally impaired doppelganger. [Muppets Most Wanted](movie:368772) even features the grandest wedding between pig and frog in puppet and marionette history. These Muppets know they are doing the seventh sequel– they sing and dance about it in the movie’s opening number. Only the Muppets would play in cities named Vometdorf and Poopenbergen, places ripe for the low level funny quotient of the movie’s smaller admirers.
The humans get the vast majority of plot while the Muppets get the chaos. At times, it seems punchy and adrift and at others just a funny redo of their TV show skits. It all depends on which way director James Bobbin makes the felt stick. As long as the plot points to the nexus of ridiculousness that is the Muppets forte Muppets: Most Wanted is a real good time. It only gets soft when it tries for too real.
Muppets: Most Wanted gets a B from me.