"Muppets Most Wanted" Movie Review: 2 Stars
by Michael Phillips
High spirits and good times are hard to come by in "Muppets Most Wanted," the anxious follow-up to the commercially successful 2011 reboot ("The Muppets") and the seventh Muppet sequel to follow in the animal tracks of "The Muppet Movie" in 1979.
I'm not sure what young newcomers will make of this sardonic take on the felt-covered universe, created by the late
The pop culture references, mostly fleeting, have their way with "The Silence of the Lambs" and "
Some of the jokes sound funnier than they really are.
Director and co-writer
Weirdly, much of what made "Cars 2" a drag -- the violent
The film begins seconds after filming has wrapped on the 2011 "Muppet Movie." Right away Kermit, Miss Piggy, et al., are kicked to the curb, once again left without fans or hopes. But the song "We're Doing a Sequel," while admitting that "everybody knows the sequel isn't quite as good," launches the gang into a new round of adversity, embodied by their new manager, Dominic Badguy, played by a top-billed and terminally blase
Off they go on a European tour, which turns out to be a cover for a plot to steal the crown jewels. It's masterminded by Kermit's dastardly look-alike, Constantine, a Cold War-era criminal with a "Despicable Me" dialect stolen from
In the previous, pretty good Muppet movie,
Bobin's credits include "Da Ali G Show" and "Flight of the Conchords," while co-writer Stoller (whose stuff I've liked a lot) is coming off "The Five-Year Engagement" and "Get Him to the Greek." The air of defeatism hanging over the storyline in "Muppets Most Wanted" is meant, I think, to stoke our sympathies for the Muppets and to set up the
Part of the problem here is one of proportion: The movie throws a misjudged majority of the material to the villains and lets the unfashionably sincere and sweet-natured Muppets fend for themselves. No doubt Gervais, Fey and company adore their co-stars, as does the creative team behind "Muppets Most Wanted." But something's missing from this sequel, and it isn't jokes about how sequels usually disappoint.
MPAA rating: PG (for some mild action). Running time: 1:52.
"Muppets Most Wanted" Movie Trailer
The Muppets take on Europe in "Muppets Most Wanted." It is not all fun and games though, the Muppets run into some trouble. Find out how they will stick together. "Muppets Most Wanted" stars the voices of Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, Ray Liotta, Steve Whitmire, and Eric Jacobson