Sunday, March 23, 2014

Film Review: Muppets Most Wanted

Muppets Most Wanted, the sequel to 2011's reboot, The Muppets (though, as Dr. Bunsen Honeydew makes note of in the film's opening musical number, this is actually the seventh sequel to the original 1979 movie), is a fun enough movie, and most certainly has its moments, including a reference to Ingmar Bergman of all people, but just like the aforementioned 2011 reboot, it lacks the, for lack of a better term, magic of the Muppets of old. But even with this being the case (which should not come as much of a surprise coming from someone of the perfect age to have grown up with the 1976-81 series The Muppet Show) I still would recommend this new movie to any and all old school Muppets fans - just warning them that it may not quite measure up to their childhood memories.

The storyline of this latest Muppets film, involves intrigue and action galore. We find Dominic Badguy (pronounce badgee), played by Ricky Gervais, kanoodling his way into becoming the gang's new manager, in order to replace Kermit with Constantine, the World's Most Dangerous Frog, and recent gulag escapee. Meanwhile, poor hapless Kermit is wrongly accused of being the escaped Constantine, and sent to a Siberian gulag. It is at the gulag where we find the film's truest, bluest highlight - the always great Tina Fey as Nadya, gulag commandant. Fey, sexier than ever in her Russian accent and fuzzy hat, steals every once of screen time she is given here - and that is saying a lot, as the scenes in the gulag, even beyond Fey, are the best the film has to offer. There is an hilarious version of A Chorus Line done by the prisoners, which include Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo. We also get Ty Burrell, as an Inspector Clousseau-like French Interpol agent, teaming up with CIA agent Sam Eagle, and (as always) a slew of famous cameos that I won't go into here, instead allowing you to come across them on your own.

Yeah, the memories I have from my childhood watching The Muppet Show, as well as The Muppet Movie from 1979, may be stronger due to a sense of nostalgia, but it is still a fun thing to watch Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Beaker, Gonzo, Scooter, Animal, and the rest of the gang (including Walter, the newest Muppet, introduced in the 2011 reboot), back in action - even if it isn't quite up to those memories. But it is enough here. From the heeelarious gulag scenes and the wonderful Ms. Fey, to the opening number, satirizing modern Hollywood, to the Disco-esque "I'll Get You Want You Want," a song sung by Constantine to Piggy that is the definite musical highlight of the film, to the Muppets usual bag of inside joke tricks, Muppets Most Wanted is a fun movie, even with it's faults and foibles. And hey, a movie that includes a Swedish Chef starring version of The Seventh Seal, can't be all bad. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.


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