‘Muppets Most Wanted’ fails to deliver on its name
Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted” sees the entire Muppets gang embarking on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid, Dublin and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper. This nefarious plot is headed by Constantine—the World’s Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit—and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Ricky Gervais. Meanwhile, Kermit is detained behind bars by Nadya, a feisty prison guard played by Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell tracks all the shenanigans as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon.
Back in 2011, Jason Segel teamed up with writer Nicolas Stoller, songwriter Bret McKenzie and director James Bobin to reintroduce the Muppets to a new generation, while showing audiences who grew up on them exactly why they loved them as much as they had as children. The sequel brings back everyone minus Segel, which sadly leaves Muppets Most Wanted without a heart to its story, reducing the follow up to the equivalent of a rudderless ship. Without a viable human aspect to relate to this time around we are left with the random ramblings of the Muppets themselves, and while some of the gags work, others fall very flat.
Of the human cast, who are all underutilized and wasted to some degree, Fey and her smorgasbord of celebrity inmates seem to deliver the most laughs, even with the convoluted set up of how Kermit ended up amongst them. While Fey does manage to bring some of her unique spin to her character of Nadya, Gervais never quite meshes as Number 2, the bad guy of the piece, and Burrell is given a thankless and hopeless task of converting a terribly written and conceived outline of a character into something funny, something he fails to achieve. The film even takes the Walter character that was vital in the previous film and relegates him to a barely used punchline, and even calls itself out on doing so.
The saving grace of the film comes in the excellent music. McKenzie has again shown an ingenious way of talking plot points and incorporating them into witty songs that capture the audience’s imagination. The disco inspired brilliance of ‘I’ll Get you What you Want’ rivals any song McKenzie wrote and recorded for the first movie or his band Flight of the Conchords. The music stands to be the real winner of Most Wanted. Some of the celebrity cameos, of which there is a ridiculous amount, work better than others and provide some of the biggest laughs of the film.
Vastly inferior to the brilliantly conceived and executed The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted sadly does not deliver what is most wanted by audiences. Children will love spending time with their favorite characters, but even they will leave disappointed in this new Muppet adventure. By removing Segel the film lost the biggest thing it had going for it in the 2011 movie, heart.
Till Next Time
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