Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

 

I don’t think that the world will ever tire of The Muppets. No matter the odds, they always come back and consistently entertain all audiences and all generations. Though some didn’t grow up on the show, the latest films have been a great way to connect with the lovable characters that you won’t forget anytime soon. The life lessons aren’t necessarily hidden, but the fun songs and cooky characters help drive the point home. You’re always in for a good time and it’s something that everyone can enjoy. With added musical numbers and cameos galore, how can you not like these films?

Dominic convinces the Muppets to go on tour, with himself as the manager,
Dominic convinces the Muppets to go on tour, with himself as the manager,

Picking up right where The Muppets left off, Kermit the Frog and the gang are left wondering “what’s next?” Just as they ask, they realize that the camera is rolling and that it’s time for a sequel! This time around, the Muppets prospective manager, Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), is prompting them to go on a world tour and the gang sides with Dominic. What the gang doesn’t know, is that Dominic is the right-hand-man to Constantine, the world’s most dangerous Frog (who also bears a striking resemblance to Kermit, aside from a mole above his lip). After Constantine breaks out of his Russian Gulag, he finds Kermit and slaps a mole on him and gets Kermit sent off to the Gulag. Now, Constantine and Dominic can move forward with their evil plans.

While Constantine and Dominic plan their World Tour in accordance to some of the world’s biggest museums, Kermit spends his time trying to escape the Gulag. However, Siberian guard Nadya (Tina Fey) wishes for Kermit to stay and teach her band of misfits how to sing and dance. As heists take place during the free-for-all Muppets shows, detective Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) and Sam Eagle tackle the case of finding out who is behind the spree of museum break-ins. Now, it’s up to the likes of Walter, Fozzy Bear, and Miss Piggy to figure out that the real Kermit has been replaced, before it’s too late to stop the evil doings of Constantine and Dominic!

Constantine, the world's most dangerous frog, is on the loose!
Constantine, the world’s most dangerous frog, is on the loose!

Muppets Most Wanted is a lot of fun and it’s one of the better film’s I’ve seen in 2014. It’s not as good as it’s most recent predecessor, but the film even acknowledges that in its first song, stating “everybody knows that the sequel’s never quite as good.” The characters are all back in tiptop-shape  and they’re all having a great time. There was never a shortage of celebrity cameos and the film still sends a lot of great messages out. I liked it much more than colleagues of mine, but I’d like to think that’s because I can still connect with my inner child. If you have a heart, you’re going to like this movie.

There’s this sense of child-like wonderment that you get when you watch this film and that’s what makes the Muppets so great. The Muppets made my top-ten list in 2011 and there’s a reason for that. The writing for these films has been terrific and the musical numbers certainly stand out. Every song is a new take on something and you’re either listening with glee, or laughing at what the song is imitating. From love ballads with Celine Dion, to Russian singalongs with Tina Fey, Ray Liota, Danny Trejo, and Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Concords member, whom also wrote many of these songs). I was always waiting for the next song to come along and I was never disappointed by what I heard. The songs are incredibly catchy and each have their own meaning, stashed away within the lyrics. This is a soundtrack that I could listen too for a long time.

Nadya and the Gulag prisoners welcome Kermit to Siberia!
Nadya and the Gulag prisoners welcome Kermit to Siberia!

The lack of Jason Segel and Amy Adams in this movie is disappointing, but Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell make this film a lot of fun. Gervais has that dry humor that you can’t help but chuckle at and the way he plays around with his character is great. Fey is downright hilarious, as per the usual, and her Russian accent and demeanor is spot-on. Burrell is the strange Frenchman who is just as likable as his character on Modern Family. The character of Constantine is also really funny, as this Russian frog tries to imitate Kermit and does a dreadful job. With this being a movie and the characters being Muppets, no one notices that Constantine isn’t actually Kermit and his terrible attempts at convincing them are wonderful.

The story in this film is a bit of a stretch, but almost every element of it works. Constantine and Dominic’s story is funny to watch and their constant one-uppery is awesome. The detectives bicker back and forth and their teamwork is oddly charming. Perhaps the most interesting side to the story, is the Muppets themselves as they unleash everything they’ve wanted to in their performances. Now that Constantine gave them the freedom to do any act they want, they realize that their ideas were perhaps too extreme. They need Kermit, who is lonesome and waiting for extract in the Gulag. The Russian aspect in this film is quirky and it provides many jokes that the characters execute with ease. There are plenty of jokes and gags in the film that will appeal to adults and children, so there’s really no reason not to enjoy this film.

Jean Pierre Napoleon and Sam Eagle show off their respective agency badges.
Jean Pierre Napoleon and Sam Eagle show off their respective agency badges.

As much as I enjoyed the film, I will say that the film’s story is kind of bizarre. It doesn’t always make sense and the antagonists end goal is never explained or elaborated upon. There isn’t much motivation for any of the characters and that bothered me a little bit. I didn’t mind what they were all doing, I just wanted to know why they were doing it. Given that the last film was all about including Walter into the group, you’d think that he’d be a big part of this film. Instead, he’s only given a handful of lines and has to carry the film’s message on his tiny shoulders. The film does seem longer than its’ nearly two-hour runtime and I was hoping that the ending wasn’t as dragged out as it was. It seemed to fall apart in the final minutes and the last song didn’t end with quite the bang that you would expect.

With all the film’s flaws, it still manages to best many of the films this year and it’s easily a favorite of mine so far. I just couldn’t help myself from laughing and smiling all throughout this film. I felt genuinely happy as I watched the ridiculousness of this film unfold before me and I absolutely loved almost every moment of it. I wanted more from some of the characters and some better explanations, but that didn’t keep me from feeling like I wanted to see this film a couple more times. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack as I write this and I’m full of glee! I really want everyone to go see this film and I just hope that you all can experience the same joy that I did. I’m certainly glad that the Muppets are back and I’m certain that they’re going to be around for a lot longer (thankfully)!

Muppets Most Wanted Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQiGyBiNjLI

3.5 STARS!!!

3.5 / 5 stars     

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