Review: Muppets Most Wanted

Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell star in a film written by James Bobin, Nicholas Stoller, and Jim Henson, and directed by Bobin.

THE GANG'S ALL HERE: Jim Henson's Muppets return to the big screen alongside Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey in <em>Muppets Most Wanted</em>.

Wouldn’t you like to see a Gulag version of A Chorus Line starring Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo, and that tall guy from Flight of the Conchords? And wouldn’t you spend money to see the offspring of the trans-species marriage of Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog? (Spoiler alert: It’s a green pig and a yellow frog.) All of that and great production numbers, too round out this very self-conscious sequel to the rebooted Muppets movie. (The best number in the film declares that sequels are never as good as the movies they follow.) Did I mention the all-in Muppet cast? And that Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais star as villains. Now what would you pay?

This follow-up to the decidedly hipster Muppets does feel like a fallback, though. The last film, conceived by Jason Segel, pepped up its round of usual suspect cameos (Mickey Rooney, Whoopi Goldberg) with a more youthful, edgy crowd (Sarah Silverman and Zach Galafianakis). But, more importantly, it introduced a level of mythmaking into the franchise. In a world where humans and puppets co-exist, who knew siblings could come in both flavors? It was good revisionism; equal parts playful and bizarre. Even though Most Wanted has some of the same writers and returns director James Bobin to the tale, it feels like it’s more about re-taking Manhattan, or at least resonating on Broadway, rather than scoring new generations. It goes on a bit too long, too.

All the same, where else could you see Christopher Waltz waltz, or get Sean Combs and Lady Gaga in the same marquee? It’s done by Disney now, but it still feels mostly Muppetational.


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