We’re Doing a Sequel!”  This is the title of the opening musical number to the latest Muppets film, Muppets Most Wanted.  With typical Muppets wit, this opening number proclaims that “everybody knows that the sequel’s never quite as good.”  Of course this was done in good humor and in a good natured way, but somehow this line telegraphs to the audience that we’re probably in store for something inferior to the 2011 rebirth of the Muppets, simply entitled The Muppets.  Although Muppets Most Wanted lacks the emotional notes, heart and sentimentality of its predecessor, it certainly works hard to compensate for this by infusing the screen with trademark Muppets mayhem, music and cameos.

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Muppets Most Wanted kicks off exactly where the last film left off, with the Muppets together again and back in the public spotlight after being forgotten.  The Muppets now have a dilemma on what they should do next.  Enter Dominic Badguy (pronounced Bad-Jee, it’s French), played by Ricky Gervais, who convinced the group to go on a world tour of their production.  Little do the Muppets know that Dominic actually has an underlying plan to steal the Royal Crown Jewels from England.  So on an international tour they do embark, moving through Berlin, Madrid and London, playing to seemingly sold-out audiences.  But these shows just end up being a cover for Dominic to capture a series of MacGuffins that eventually lead him to the Crown Jewels themselves.  In the middle of all this, Kermit has been captured and sent to a Russian gulag, overseen by Nadya, played by Tina Fey.  Kermit ends up being replaced by Constantine, “the world’s number one criminal,” who escaped from the gulag earlier and bears a striking resemblance to Kermit, except for a large mole (taken care of by bright green frog makeup) and a thick accent (‘Kermit’ has a cold).  Constantine manages to fool the entire Muppets troupe, except for Animal (“bad frog!”).  Enter Interpol agent Napoleon, played by Ty Burrell, and CIA agent Sam Eagle, who are both in hot pursuit of Constantine and his accomplice, “the lemur”, the “world’s number two criminal.”   Will Kermit ever get back to his friends?  Will Constantine fool Miss Piggy into marrying him?  Will Dominic get away with the Crown Jewels?  Will Nadya finally get a chance to fulfill her passion to perform Broadway-style theatre?  We finally do get the answers to these burning questions (except for the last one, maybe), but before then, the mayhem, music and cameos ensue.

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Many of the cameos in Muppets Most Wanted were well done and made for nice “wink wink” moments.  Most notable were Celine Dion in a black & white musical duet with Miss Piggy, Danny Trejo and Ray Liotta as inmates turned A Chorus Line singers, Josh Groban as a “surprise” prisoner, and  Zach Galifianakis as an enthusiastic wedding guest.  However, some cameos seemed rushed, and somewhat pointless, leaving the celebrities almost invisible (unless you squint really hard), including James McAvoy as a UPS delivery man and Chloë Grace Moretz as a newspaper delivery girl.

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The music includes some very enjoyable numbers – there aren’t any songs on the level of Rainbow Connection, Movin’ Right Along, Life’s A Happy Song, Man or Muppet, but these are admittedly tough acts to follow.  Some of the really hilarious numbers include I’m Number One, a witty, high-energy tune between Gervais and Constantine and I’ll Get You What You Want, reminiscent of a cheesy 70’s romantic disco hit, sung by Constantine to Miss Piggy.  The only song that has the true feel of Muppets past, is the finale, Together Again, mainly since it is one of the few tunes that features Kermit with the Muppets, and also since it is a song that reinforces the friendship and camaraderie of the Muppets.

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Muppets Most Wanted is a worthy entry in the Muppets series of movies.  It doesn’t have the same heart and emotional resonance as the previous film, The Muppets, but there is enough mayhem and music to keep families and Muppets fans alike entertained.  A film like The Muppets, and the first film, The Muppet Movie, can only come along once in a while, and the transition from The Muppets to Muppets Most Wanted feels very close to the transition from The Muppet Movie to The Great Muppet Caper (1981), which, interestingly, features a jewelry heist in London as well.  In Most Wanted, there seems to be too heavy a focus on Constantine, the prison and the caper itself, rather than on the Muppets themselves – Fozzie, Scooter, Rowlf and especially Gonzo were not given enough screen time.  Still, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments to keep the audience entertained and enough friendship and “staying together” undertones to keep the emotion alive.  Will they do yet another sequel?  Most likely, but let’s hope the Muppets remain the main focus of the film the next time around.

Review of 'Muppets Most Wanted'
'Muppets Most Wanted' is a worthy entry in the Muppets series of movies. It doesn't have the same heart and emotional resonance as the previous film, 'The Muppets', but there is enough mayhem, music and cameos to compensate and keep families and Muppets fans alike entertained.
Story
Performances
Comedy/Fun
Music
Disneymeter
Magical!
  • The Muppets
  • Muppet Mayhem & Comedy
  • Cameos
4.0Overall Score