Movie Review: "Muppets, Most Wanted" Who's Who? Wait…a sequel?

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A SEQUEL!?!?!?! This will never work. Or will it? Hmmm…

The Muppets jump back onto the screen again right where they left off, literally. With Walter now a fixture with the family we are back at it again with James Bobin directing our creative, lively and lovable characters on a tour of seemingly similar circumstances. Yes, I am delving into my inner storyteller. Let us begin…

The Muppets are back on top, so to speak. With the gang all together what do they do? Go on a tour through Europe. With their new manager, Dominic Badguy (pronounced Badgee, French), the Muppets start their adventure in Berlin. Not all is as it seems though as Kermit isn’t Kermit but the worlds #1 criminal, Constantine. How is everyone fooled? A mere blemish of a mole separates their green complexion. And fooled they are as we see just how much Kermit means to the Muppets. What is Constantine up to with the Muppets? And more importantly, how is Kermit going to get out of PRISON?

This is a Muppet film in its best fashion, with celebrity after celebrity doing cameos left and right. Sprinkle in a bit by reaching back in time to borrow a bit of the ‘The Great Muppet Caper’ and you are in for a fun time watching the Muppets do what Muppets do, make you smile and laugh. From Start to finish these Muppets keep you entertained. Bobin has done well again by those who laid down the foundation many years ago.

With another colorful cast of those we love and some new faces, Bobin pushes through a script that at times seems thin and pulls it together. Now that may sound a little like an oxymoron, as I did say this film is fun. It is fun, just that the key to this film is not its story from Bobin and Nicholas Stoller. How they get you from the basic “caper movie” to a musical Muppet film is what makes this a fun time. It helps that you have the celebrity cameos, some of which are quite hilarious.

The true driving force in all of the Muppet films is, well the Muppets. I could not praise the talented team of creative performers that bring the Muppets to life. From such a talented force that Jim Henson and Frank Oz have found and developed we have Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Peter Linz, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta and David Rudman to name just a few that keep striving to entertain us.

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They are not alone either as the entire cast and crew of the film set out to make an entertaining film that had the essence of a true Muppet film. We had some exciting acting with Ricky Gervais (The Office, The Invention of Lying) as Dominic Badguy, singing and dancing, although a little stiff dancing. Maybe it is because he is number 2? Tina Fey (30 Rock, SNL) puts on her boots and does her best Russian as Nadya. Laughter is her strongest weapon. Rounding out the “regular” actors is proverbial character actor Ty Burrell (Modern Family, The Incredible Hulk) as Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon who along with Sam Eagle tend to steal the screen light with their comical antics.

Even all the cameos are, for the most part, well played and quite witty in there placement. From Stanley Tucci and Selma Hayek to Christoph Waltz and Bridgit Mendler are up for the fun of entertaining us throughout the film. I will say that my favorite of the film is the trio of Jemaine Clement, Ray Liotta and one of my personal favorite and inspiring actors Danny Trejo.

Now the crew is the heart of this film as they make everything fit in to place and stand out when need to. Bobin has assembled a masterful group of individuals that bring this script realism. Production designer Eve Stewart gives us the feel of the world with the Muppets fitting right in. Rahel Afiley dressed the Muppets and the cast beautifully with creations that spanned many generations and compliments the locales and story with costuming. Music composition by Christope Beck sets the tones throughout the film delightfully while Francesca Jaynes stretches the legs of the cast and puts some fancy footwork all around. My favorite being the prison dance numbers.

A little stand out work is again done by Bret McKenzie, who won the 2011 Oscar® for “Man or Muppet” has stepped up again and knocked out another fantastic assembly of songs. From the opening number to Miss Piggy’s “Something So Right”, McKenzie keeps us on our toes for the next song. Witty lines and catchy music, such as my favorite, Constantine’s “I’ll Get You What You Want”, just make me want to see what else may be up his sleeve.

‘Muppets, Most Wanted’ is an entertaining adventure, caper, musical only the Muppets can do. To give any real critique would be the hiccups of some slow build to the story or if the movie could stand alone without all the cameos that are present. Although amusing and enjoyable to see, at one point it becomes a search for who is next to be on screen. That aside, it is a wonderful film for all ages to go and sit back to take guilty pleasure in.

When we watch a film, it is like any form of entertainment, where you identify with characters or the story. This film is no different in that it has a moral to it, presented as many of us can take to heart in a way only the Muppets can. We all have one person, or frog, sometimes many that we rely on that helps us guide our path in life. Now I don’t mean they tell us what we do but present us with order and reason. This can be a parent, best friend, boss, director, or spiritual advisor that gives us strength to make the right choice or at least ones that will not harm us or others in any way. Kermit is that person to the Muppets as he keeps them grounded to reality. I have many who I trust and go to as it is who I am. Whether it is my parents, fiancé, family member or manager, I need all aspects of a thought to be in my mind and heart before making the right choice. So next time you make a choice without any thought, remember it may not be just you that is affected. Live your life, live it fully, and live it with strength and knowledge that you have someone or more there to keep you well in many facets.

RATING 4.5/5

Follow my entertainment adventures throughout Southern California on Twitter @SCThrillsMarc.

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