The Muppets have been a part of my life since I was a child, I can still remember sitting in the theater (35 years ago!) watching the original “The Muppet Movie” film and being completely enchanted. “The Muppet Show” was a childhood staple. And when the franchise was rebooted with “The Muppets” in 2011, it breathed new life into characters that I’d grown up with.
“Muppets Most Wanted” continues that tradition, and feels like a throwback to the original film. In 2011, there was a larger focus on the humans in “The Muppets”. In 2014, the Muppets are more of the focal point, with great support by actors Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burrell – along with a long list of cameos. Ricky Gervais has long been one of my favorite comedians, and he doesn’t disappoint.
“Muppets Most Wanted” also introduces a new frog, Constantine. Constantine is a perfect double to Kermit the Frog, except with a mole that he conceals to hide his identity. What he can’t hide is his heavy Russian accent and perpetual sour face.
Dominic Badguy (Gervais) approaches the Muppets to go on a world tour of their show. He seems a little shady, but he couldn’t really be a bad guy, right? Of course he is. He and Constantine are planning heists all along the Muppets tour route, with the main conquest being the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. However, there can’t be two frogs that look like Kermit, and the pair make sure that Kermit is sent to a Siberian gulag. There, he encounters Nadya (Fey), a Russian guard who eventually is revealed to have an unexpected love obsession.
In the meantime, Constantine does fool the Muppets – including Miss Piggy, by explaining away his Russian accent as a cold. Fortunately, not every Muppet can be duped for long, and the race is on to save the British Crown Jewels – and to stop a wedding.
Hot on the trail of the Muppets is Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell), a French Interpol agent with a dubious accent and a humorous penchant for taking his breaks and vacation at key moments where he could break the heist case.
The music in “Muppets Most Wanted” isn’t quite as infectious as “The Muppet Movie” or “The Muppets” on it’s own. But there are many wonderful numbers, including a frog-human dance with Constantine and Badguy (Gervais) to their song “I’m Number One”. That was the moment I knew I would I would have to eventually own the film. The inmates also put on a fantastic show near the end of the movie, but similarly to “I’m Number One”, it really relies quite a bit on watching the characters in addition to hearing the music. Many of my biggest laughs were during the musical numbers, including “I’ll Get You What You Want”, a 70’s infused pop song sung by Constantine.
“Muppets Most Wanted” could have been tightened up a little to bring down the 1 hour 48 minute run time, but that can be said of many movies these days. This was an enjoyable trip to the movies for me, and I look forward to seeing “Muppets Most Wanted” again.
We had been invited to the “Muppets Most Wanted” press conference in Beverly Hills, it was almost as much fun as the film!
Mousesteps grade for Muppets Most Wanted: B.
“Muppets Most Wanted” is rated PG.