UK Release Date: 28th March 2014
Runtime: 113 minutes
Director: James Bobin
Writer: James Bobin, Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell
Synopsis: When Kermit is kidnapped and replaced by an evil doppelganger, the Muppets are duped into going on a world tour as a front for an evil plot to steal the Crown Jewels.
When Jim Henson’s most memorable creations returned to cinemas with 2012’s The Muppets, something amazing happened. Suddenly, characters that had disappeared and been forgotten by so many were once again spellbinding children and adults alike.
So, of course, a disappointing sequel could only be a few years away.
After the success of their return, the Muppets are convinced by “tour manager” Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) to embark on a world tour. But, when Kermit is kidnapped, imprisoned in a gulag run by Tina Fey and replaced by evil frog Constantine, it becomes clear that the tour is a criminal front. Meanwhile, Sam the Eagle teams with an Interpol agent (Ty Burrell) to crack the case.
| "A heart-warming lesson about sharing or waiting your turn or the number three."
Let’s start with the positives. Muppets Most Wanted starts on an enormous high. The opening number (provided by returning songwriter Bret McKenzie) beautifully skewers sequel culture in Hollywood, showcasing the same self-aware humour that made The Muppets so entertaining.
Constantine is also a solid villain, from his consistently amusing attempts to replicate Kermit’s voice to his rapport with a surprisingly tolerable Ricky Gervais as Dominic Bad-gee (it’s French).
Unfortunately, these factors aren’t enough to rescue Muppets Most Wanted from the fact that it’s just a little bit empty. Whilst its predecessor was packed with wit, warmth and wonder, this one feels like a husk waiting for that injection of something special.
It’s frankly shocking how much goes wrong. The jokes aren’t all that funny and the plot is as generic and capery as they come. For the millionth time, a film seems to think that lampshading its own flaws means they don’t count as problems, which simply isn’t true.
| "Not one single person noticed I’d been replaced by an evil criminal mastermind?"
Even Bret McKenzie’s songs, which won an Oscar for the last movie, feel very flat and unamusing here. With the exception of the aforementioned opening number, Muppets Most Wanted is mainly populated by bland songs that contain giggles rather than guffaws.
It’s a real shame that such an incredible movie has been tarnished by such a half-arsed, dull sequel. Another Muppets movie is a given, and I just hope that they can find the magic again. And hopefully there will be fewer pointless celebrity cameos.
Pop or Poop?
Muppets Most Wanted is exactly the kind of disappointing sequel that the self-aware style of the Muppets should have been able to avoid.
Unfortunately, with bland jokes, a cookie cutter caper plot and a distinct lack of any discernible heart, the film is a real mess.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.