The offerings this week consisted of Noah (too ridiculous) and Bad Words (too angry) so I decided to turn back the clock to last week and see Muppets Most Wanted. I’ve never been a big fan of Kermit, Miss Piggy, or any of the ‘big’ Muppets but I do love backgrounders like Beaker, Robin, and Statler and Waldorf. Plus the last movie was really funny.
After taking Kermit’s place, international criminal Constantine and the Muppets’ manager Dominic Badguy use their world tour as a cover for stealing priceless artifacts.
I’m always worried that a movie with a hilarious trailer will be disappointing because it used up all its good jokes already. Luckily, that didn’t happen here. Though I did occasionally wish for less Muppets and more supporting cast, it turned out to be as funny as the last one.
This movie picks up while they’re still wrapping up the big dance number from the end of the first movie. Main character status switches away from Walter (Peter Linz) and back to Kermit (Steve Whitmire). The Muppets find out they’ve been greenlighted for a sequel and while they’re trying to figure out what to do, a sketchy tour manager named Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) convinces them to go on a world tour.
It’s pronounced Badge-ee. It’s French.
They jump on a train and travel to Berlin (yes, a train) for their first show. Kermit wants to start off small but Dominic convinces the other Muppets to go big. Once Kermit is marginalized, it’s easy for evil frog Constantine (Matt Vogel), who has just escaped from a Russian gulag, to take Kermit’s place in the group.
Kerrrrmeeet de frog heeerrr…
Eeez time to light de lights. Heh heh heh.
Sam Eagle (Eric Jacobson) of the CIA and Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) of Interpol are forced to work together on the museum robberies. It’s only a subplot, but the investigation contains all of the funniest parts of the movie. Jean Pierre has a hilarious accent, drinks from a miniscule cup and drives a car that could fit in an elevator.
Eet is illegal now for eets massive size!
Every time Sam Eagle turns around, Jean Pierre is enjoying some fabulous benefit of his European employment. Parents and other North American adults who are conscious of how crappy their benefits packages are compared to some of those offered in Europe will think this the funniest part of the movie.
Perfect! Time for my annual eight week paid vacation!
Muppets Most Wanted is a musical, but I’m not a huge fan of kiddie musicals so I can take or leave most of the songs. The sequel song is pretty funny because it pokes fun of studios’ moneygrubbing. My favorite song was ‘I’m Number One,’ where Constantine rubs his #1 most wanted status in Dominic’s face. One thing I did find odd was their obsession with showing the Muppets’ legs. After so many years of only showing Muppets from the waist up to accommodate the puppeteer, it just seemed weird and wrong.
“I’m number one. You’re number two.
We’re criminals at large but I’m at larger than you.”
While Dominic and Constantine are robbing their way across Europe, Kermit is stuck in a gulag. The head guard, Nadya (Tina Fey), is my second favorite part of the film. She has a hilarious fake Russian accent that she keeps even when she sings. She thwarts all Kermit’s escape attempts and finally convinces him to help run the gulag annual review.
And now, ve vill seeng Boyz 2 Men.
As usual, this movie is loaded with celebrity cameos. Too many to list, but I’ll toss out a few of the people I remember seeing. Celine Dion. Lady Gaga. Sean Coombs. James MacAvoy as a UPS guy. Tom Hollander as an Irish journalist. Til Schweiger as a German cop. Christophe Waltz and Selma Hayek as guests on the Muppet stage show. Stanley Tucci as a gulag guard. Danny Trejo, Ray Liotta, and Tom Hiddleston as inmates.
Repackage this as a short film called ‘Loki Gets Tased’ and make a billion dollars.
There are even some cameos for people I didn’t even recognize. The big reveal of the maximum security inmate in the gulag drew a big blank for me (I was right in assuming he must be a musician), as did the flower boy at Constantine’s wedding.
I thought this kid must be in a boy band but it turns out he’s from a Disney Channel show.
Constantine has an obvious Russian accent and is alternately overly accommodating and dismissive, but not even Miss Piggy (Eric Jacobson) starts to wonder if he might not be Kermit until they’re practically married. This is because they have to wait for most of the movie to go by before it’s safe to blow Constantine’s cover and rescue Kermit.
That international criminal DOES look weirdly like Kermit!
So… will your kids like Muppets Most Wanted? Yes. The two rows of five-year-olds from the birthday party in front of me were having a great time. Will you like Muppets Most Wanted? Yes. Even if you don’t get nostalgic for Muppets, the gulag and Interpol storylines are more than funny enough to keep grown ups from getting bored. Take your whole family.