Review: It’s the Muppets again in 'Muppets Most Wanted'
The latest Muppet movie begins at the end. Not like in media res, I mean like the first thing you see in this movie are the giant words “THE END.” We’re back at the end of the last Muppet movie, and it slowly dawns on the Muppets that the cameras are still rolling. This could mean only one thing!
Obviously, James Bobin forgot to shout cut.
No, wait, the Muppets are doing a sequel! So, the movie begins with a meta moment when the Muppets realize they’re now in a sequel, and they sing an absolutely hilarious song about this fact entitled “We’re Doing a Sequel.” So now they’re puppets, who are actors, who are playing themselves in a movie. It’s kind of like This is The End, except I don’t think James Franco is a puppet. At least I’m pretty sure he’s not.
Anyway, the best part? This movie was going to be called The Muppets Again! Because it’s about the Muppets, again! It’s so absurdly stupid it’s kind of brilliant, which is why it was changed at the last moment to Muppets Most Wanted. They went with a more descriptive, less generic title that somehow managed to be less descriptive and more generic.
Everybody got that?
Good, now explain it to me.
The plot of this movie is that the Muppets made a movie a few years back, and now they’re doing a sequel, but we’ve already established that.
Anyway, you can’t convince people that’s a valid movie plot, so there has to be something going on. So, some guy named Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) convinces the Muppets to take their show on the road across Europe, and also that his last name is pronounced “badgey”. Turns out Badguy is a bad guy, which you’d have to be a puppet not to see coming, but anyway, he’s teamed up with Constantine, the world’s most dangerous frog, to steal the Crown Jewels of England.
Their nefarious plot: replace Kermit the Frog with Constantine, use the Muppets to cover up their various robberies leading up to the final heist, and then pin the blame on them when they make their escape. Also, marry Miss Piggy as a final diversion.
Despite Constantin’s ridiculous Russian accent, this plan works perfectly, and Kermit ends up in a Siberian gulag with Nadya (Tina Fey), Big Papa (Ray Liotta) and Danny Trejo (Danny Trejo). A pair of detectives, one French (Ty Burrell) and one American (Sam the Eagle) are on the trail of the thieves, but you know you’re in trouble when the blue puppet is the more competent one.
Will the bad guys steal the crown jewels? Will the two detectives set aside their cultural differences and become a team? Will the Muppets new show be a success? Will Kermit escape the Gulag in time, and will his friends even realize he’s missing before its too late? Will Miss Piggy go through with this mistaken marriage? Will I really use this joke again?
Music and Humor
The humor in this movie is very meta. I happen to like that sort of humor. You may have noticed. If you happen to like that kind of humor, you’ll like this movie. The jokes come fast and furious, and it’s surprising how many of them work, and what works. For instance, Rizzo the Rat speaking one line complaining about how he’s only had one line in the last two movies almost makes up for the fact that Rizzo the Rat has only had one line in the last two movies. I happen to like Rizzo the Rat. You may have noticed.
Once again, the songs are exceptional, with the aforementioned song about sequels being my favorite, though Constantine’s song for Miss Piggy is also pretty good.
I think if I had to pick a favorite review of all my movie reviews, I would pick my review of The Muppets. I feel like it captures the essence of the movie under the microscope, and also allowed me to give you, the reader, a more open, honest and personal look at, well, me. It also features me blithering on about Roger Ebert, as I do from time to time.
And, hey, this movie actually did review itself; it admits in that first song that the sequel is never quite as good. Which is true, but in this case, I don’t hate it when that happened. It’s that silly, self-deprecating part I like. And even though this isn't as good as The Muppets, it's not like that was a low bar.
And don’t worry, Muppets, my sequel isn’t quite as good, either.