The Muppets have never been an obsession for me, as they are for some of my friends. They know all the Muppet lore, can break down each movie in a scholarly tone, and name you all the cameos in each one. For me, I remember enjoying the show, and seeing a few of the movies here and there, but that’s about it. When the Muppets ‘relaunched’ with the last movie, I was mostly unmoved – though I’ve sen it since, or most of it, and laughed. But hey, the kids wanted to see it bad, and I don’t have to have my arm twisted to go to the theater and have some popcorn. I came away quite entertained.
First, there’s a Monsters University short in front of it. The guys ‘steal’ a party from the popular frats, I thought it was a nice change from all the Toy Story shorts. As for the Muppets, the movie picks up just after the end of the last one – literally. Kermit (after the sequel-themed musical number) has to deal with the demands and ideas of the rest of the team as he tries to keep a coherent show together. If you’ve seen the Muppet Show before, you know that it rarely works out but you can’t fault him for trying. In swoops Dominic Badguy, played by Ricky Gervais, who offers the Muppets a European tour. However it’s all a ploy, as his partner, Constantine “the most dangerous frog in the world”, breaks out of a Russian gulag to do a crime spree across Europe.
The Muppet-centric parts of the movie were a bit hit or miss for me. Some jokes landed hard (Fozzie’s comment when they figure out what’s going on killed me), but many were worth a chuckle or eyeroll at best. I really liked Tina Fey as the gulag warden, she seems to get this kind of movie is a great excuse to get hammy. Sorry Piggy. Ricky Gervais was solid, and they probably didn’t pay him enough for the costume he ends up wearing. Sam the Eagle with Ty Burrell as the French Interpol guy was actually quite funny. Their interrogation musical number was surprisingly good. The cameos were similarly hit or miss, with some just seeming surreal, like Christoph Waltz. Danny Trejo was hilarious though, almost worth the price on it’s own for him and the other prisoners and the show they put on. There’s a few more good ones but they are better unspoiled.
Muppets Most Wanted was definitely an enjoyable movie, though it probably won’t supplant your favorite original Muppets movie as best ever.