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Muppets Most Wanted (3D)

2014-03-28 14:33
What it's about:

After coming together again in the last movie, the Muppets embark on a world tour but their happy reunion may be short lived as their new manager and his boss, the evil Kermit look-alike Constantine, use the tour as a cover for a string of heists leading to their ultimate target: England's Crown Jewels.

What we thought:

Who doesn't love the Muppets? With their wealth of personality and killer jokes that works equally as well for adults as they do for children, it's hardly surprising that Jim Henson's legendary creations are enjoying yet another big screen revival. Their self-titled 2011 film brought The Muppets to a new generation with all the jokes, heart and old fashioned puppetry – this may be the 21st century but fortunately no one dared to try and digitise these crucially physical creations –  fully intact and even if it may have spent just a bit too much time on the human co-stars, it was a rousing success that captured most of what made the Muppets so great decades ago.

Now, three years later, we have the inevitable sequel, but unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted is a major step down from its predecessor. It starts with a song about how much sequels suck and, while the ensuing nearly two hours certainly don't suck, they never quite manage to recapture the old Muppets magic. What's really frustrating though is that it's hard to grasp exactly what went wrong.

On paper, all the ingredients are there for a Muppets adventure that should have been even better than their 2011 revival. The focus is more squarely on the Muppets this time, for a start, and the human actors employed this time around are even more promising than the already pretty great Amy Adams and Jason Segal – Tina Fay, Ty Burrell and Ricky Gervais are three seriously funny people. Also, despite the loss of Jason Segal as co-writer, Muppets Most Wanted is otherwise written and directed by the exact same team who brought us The Muppets. As for the story that involves globe-trotting adventure, jewellery heists and what is basically an evil version of Kermit, it really should be pretty brilliant.

Indeed, the film is definitely very funny, as the Muppets themselves get more screen time and the human actors are every bit as great as you might hope. And yet, there's just something off. Not only does the film end up being a whole lot less exceptional than its individual components would suggest, it's actually sometimes a fairly tiresome watch. It's a bit too long, to be sure, but the main problem is that even though its a film where plenty happens and it never really slows down for a second, it still feels surprisingly sluggish. Similarly, though it certainly doesn't shy away from sentimentality and the characters are still simply incredibly sweet, the film still feels like it's lacking in heart.

It's hard to say exactly what went wrong but the primary suspect is that the crime caper plot is too unwieldy and too repetitive for its own good. You may be entertained by the jokes, the characters and the generally really good songs as the film moves from set piece to set piece but the actual story is fairly inert.

Obviously, I would never recommend that people don't go see a new Muppets movie and it's obviously the perfect movie to take your kids to (after you've seen The Lego Movie, of course) but I wanted more from Muppets Most Wanted.

A definite step down from its predecessor, Muppets Most Wanted still has enough great jokes, awesome characters and memorable songs to see it through.
Read more on:    ricky gervais  |  tina fey  |  movies

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