Good, Clean Muppet Style Fun – A review of Muppets Most Wanted
Title: Muppets Most Wanted
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures
Run Time: 109 minutes
Director: James Bobin
Stars: Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobsen, Dave Goelz, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, Ricky Gervais and a whole slew of recognizable Hollywood faces just itching for a Muppet Movie cameo
Summary: The Muppets still have it, even though Jim Henson and Frank Oz are noticeably absent. The fun, though, remains and this film reminds us of the continued greatness of Henson’s genius and the family friendly franchise he created..
Jim Henson died much too young, but he left behind a legacy that will continue to entertain families and children for decades to come.
Three years ago, Disney Studios revived the Muppet story with a tale designed to reintroduce movie audiences to the characters and situations that kept television audiences in stitches for years.
Kermit the Frog, always the optimist even in uncertainty, leads his band of merry sock puppets on their adventures both big and small screen. Each of his tagalongs have their own eccentricities and appeals that audiences both know and love.
Like Fozzie Bear, who can’t tell a decent joke to save his fur. Or Miss Piggy, whose perennial lust for all things frog constantly cause her to pursue Kermy despite his abject rejections of her advances. Or Gonzo, whose perennial quest to outdanger himself and his companions will one day lead to his beak being permanently covered by an inflexible cast.
Of course the other appeal to the movies and shows were the unending line of Hollywood A-listers who often solicited invitations to appear as guests in the ongoing adventures of the felt, fur and fabric freewheeling funfests each go around.
And this installment is no different. Here, Kermit finds himself in a Russian Gulag after he is unwittingly replaced by evil Constantine, a criminal mastermind who bears a striking resemblance to our frog footed entertainer. The only distinguishing difference is a mole strategically affixed to the infernal amphibian’s right cheek.
Guarding our favorite frog is none other than 30 Rock’s Tina Fey as a Russian bent on ensuring decent entertainment for her staff on an upcoming revue night. Of course Kermit is the perfect guest prisoner who can whip our performing felons (including Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo, among others) into shape.
Meanwhile Constantine and foil Ricky Gervais as Dominick Badguy (properly pronounced Badgee – it’s French and means “Good Man”) are planning a series of heists that will solidify the felonious frog’s reputation as the number one criminal in the world.
The only way to do that, though, is to commit the ensemble to a world tour that’s destined to start in Europe where all the necessary items are concealed.
Meanwhile, Ty Burrell and Sam the Eagle are in pursuit of evil Constantine. But first they must get over their mutual obsession with badge envy. They could take advice from yet another muppet character from a completely different franchise – “Size Matters Not!”
In this day and age, very little entertainment in the form of comedy makes its way onto the big screen unless it’s either animated or obnoxiously offensive (Take that, Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell!). Finally, though, we have here a wholesome family film that transcends the animation genre with familiar characters and stars who are just here to entertain us.
Even though the voice actors are different, the characters they play have remained steadfast throughout the years. The Muppets remain true the image perfected by Henson’s character workshop and he would most definitely be proud of just how far they’ve come.
It’s not a perfect movie, but it is absolutely a fun way to spend an hour or two with friendly familiar faces. I, for one, will never tire of the Muppets or their actions, no matter how far fetched or preposterous they may become. (Just how did that train really get from Hollywood to Europe anyway?)
If more comedy films learned from the Muppets, the big screen would be a much more inviting place to visit. I give Muppets Most Wanted 4-1/2 out of 5 stars.