Sunday, 21 December 2014
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)
A lot of reviews for Muppets Most Wanted, James Bobbin's sequel to his 2011 smash The Muppets, focus on how it's not as good as the original movie but you know what, I really enjoyed it. Freed from the 'reintroduction' of Henson's loveable characters and the feeding of nostalgia for the TV series and the first clutch of movies, as well as taking the sentimentality down some considerable notches too, Muppets Most Wanted gets to concentrate on doing what the Muppets should be doing; naff but still hilarious jokes and in jokes coming at a rate of knots, foreign stereotypes, knockabout routines and some great celebrity cameos.
The plot is a straightforward one; fresh from their comeback from the 2011 film, the Muppets decide to go on a worldwide tour and hire Ricky Gervais's worryingly named Dominic Badguy (or 'bad-jee' as he claims it should be pronounced) as their road manager who is number two to the world's most dangerous frog, the wanted elusive criminal Constantine, who just so happens to be a dead ringer for Kermit. A double-cross sees Constantine trade places with Kermit and our hero is packed off to a Russian Gulag allowing Constantine and Badguy to undertake daring art heists in each country the Muppets play at (Germany, Spain, Ireland and Great Britain, allowing for small cameos from Christoph Waltz, Selma Hayek, Saoirse Ronan, Tom Hollander and High Bonneville) before the most audacious of all; the plot to steal the Crown Jewels.
Yeah, Ricky Gervais doesn't have the same charm or heart as their previous human co-star Jason Segal, but he's playing the bad guy (literally of course, given the aforementioned character name) so criticising the lack of emotional pull from him is a bit pointless and unfair really. I know he's on record as a fan, but he does seem a little in awe of the Henson world he finds himself in and never totally at ease with what the film requires of him.
Tine Fey and Ty Burrell get some good stuff to do and who could resist a film which sees Danny Trejo and Ray Liotta perform song and dance routines?!