After saving the theatre and getting the gang back together in 2012’s The Muppets, the gang are back for a world adventure. My review of Muppets Most Wanted after the jump.
Picking up where The Muppets left off, Muppets Most Wanted joins the gang at the beginning of a new era. Now that they’ve saved their theatre & are back together, what do they do next? Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervasis) suggests that they go on a world tour with him as manager, to which they agree. At the same time the world’s most dangerous criminal and Kermit lookalike, Constantine has escaped the Siberian Gulag (prison) and unbeknownst to the Muppets, he has inserted himself in the tour, leaving Kermit to be sent back to prison in his place. A wicked scheme orchestrated by a criminal mastermind is at play, but what is it and will any of the Muppets notice that something is amiss?
The strength of the Muppets has always been their musical numbers and that’s exactly what shines in this film. Uplifting, amusing and stuffed with fun cameos, they alone make the film worth seeing. Oscar-winner Bret McKenzie is back composing and performing original songs, and his wit is evident throughout. I particularly enjoyed the opening number “We’re Doing a Sequel” and its little dig at the film industry. As well as original songs there are a peppering of covers. A highlight in the film was the Gulag performance of “Working in a Coal Mine” (sung by McKenzie’s Flight of the Conchords partner Jermaine Clement), which was achingly funny.
While Muppets Most Wanted was fun, it lacked the emotional pull and depth of The Muppets, where you felt like part of your childhood was at risk. Here, the crime-caper story-line fell a little flat, which was largely to do with the uninteresting villainous character, Dominic Badguy. Gervais is a funny man, but he was horribly miscast here. His character lacked the animated mischievousness which would have been far more fitting in this family film. Ty Burrell’s French Interpol inspector was far more entertaining, with Burrell’s boyish charm a perfect match for the Muppets family humour. Tina Fey was also brilliantly cast as the head of the Gulag and her energetic, playful performance was a highlight. The entertaining supporting performances and cameos are too many to name, and hey – part of the fun of this film is being surprised by who pops up.
By Sam McCosh
Director: James Bobin
Writer(s): James Bobin & Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey
Runtime: 107 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: April 10 2014