Muppets Most Wanted (PG, 107 Minutes)
The biggest question I have been asked since seeing the new Muppet film, “Muppets Most Wanted,” is how it compares to the first one. Which in itself is an interesting question since this is the 8th feature film the Muppets have done. Of course the last one, “The Muppets,” was considered a huge success. It was very entertaining and had some very funny moments.
So is this one just as good? Yes and no.
This new film picks up right from the end of the last film. In fact it starts from the closing shot of the last film as the actors, dancers and extras clear the set. The Muppets gather together and realize they can take their new show out on the road. Instantly it seems a man appears named Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais). His last name is pronounced bad – ghee, its French. He is hoping the Muppets will hire him as their manager who will work alongside Kermit to make sure the tour is a success.
Unknown to the group Dominic is working with the world’s most dangerous frog, Constantine, who has escaped from Gulag 388 in Siberia. He looks familiar except for one mole above his lip. After he escapes he corners Kermit and slaps a mole on him so they look exactly alike. Kermit is then arrested and put into the Gulag. Constantine schedules the tour dates for the groups into theaters next to museums and banks that he and Constantine are breaking into. Soon Interpol is on the case and they find the connection.
There are many cameos and celebrity guests in this film that add to the fun. Tina Fey is funny as the warden of the Gulag. Plus somewhat hidden in the mix of prisoners is Ray Liotta who does musicals numbers in the Gulag. The audition scenes are very comical. They even have Usher playing an usher, kind of corny but done well. Miss Piggy even has a fairy godmother who sings with her by the name of Celine Dion.
There are many other cameos that are funny, but this film does not quite measure up to “The Muppets.” Yes it does have some very funny moments, but the magic of the last film does not make an appearance in this one. I did not feel as drawn in to this story as I did when Jason Segel and Amy Adams were fighting for the Muppets to keep their theater. It may be the bad guy is not quite as mean, but it is not quite the same.
This does not mean that this film is not a good value for your family entertainment dollar though. My kids fully enjoyed the film and we all laughed a lot, some more than others. Another bright spot is the Pixar short at the beginning of the film. It is a Monster U story called “Party Central.” It is very funny. This is a good film for the family, but do you expect anything else from the Muppets?
"Muppets Most Wanted": 3 points for parents
Violence – A man breaks out of prison and attacks guards. He uses explosives to get out. Some slap stick humor. A character gets thrown back and forth by another. Explosives are used to break into buildings.
Language – No use of profanity. Some lying and deception by bad guys.
Nudity – Some men are seen in their underwear, long underwear.