Muppets Most Wanted
The end. Ta-da!
Ah, life is indeed a happy song when you get to the end of a Muppet movie reboot. But wait: What do all those felt-covered friends do now?
Kermit and the gang ask themselves that very question moments after their last pic ends. And it puts them in a quandary. There's got to be some worthwhile project they can all work on together, right?
I mean, they could always …
That is, how about …
Uh, what are they going to …
That's when a shrewd businessman named Dominic Badguy (it's pronounced "bad ghee," of course) gives Kermit the perfect idea: a world tour. The Muppets can take their act on the road and deliver their Muppet Magic directly to John and Jane Q. Public. Yay!
Little do those gullible puppet pals realize, however, that Dominic really is a bad ghee, er, guy. He's a notorious villain who just happens to be the sidekick of an even notoriouser frog villain named Constantine, a dastardly amphibian mastermind who hails from Russia.
Their plan? To go down in history as the most wicked, evil, notoriousest villains there ever were. "My name first," the Russian-accented Constantine crows. "And then, spacebar, spacebar, spacebar, your name."
Their nefarious strategy depends upon having Constantine replace Kermit as the Muppets' leader—a relatively easy task, since, well, they look almost exactly alike. (Constantine sports a telltale mole that Kermit does not.) True, the thick accent poses some obstacles for the imposter. (Even saying the name "Keyr-mit" is something of a challenge for him.) But he'll work on it.
All they have to do is get Miss Piggy's beau sent to a gulag in Siberia. A well-placed, glued-on mole will convince the authorities he's the villain. Then their scheme of worldwide thievery can commence in earnest. It's a perfect plan. Those Muppet fools will never suspect anything, Constantine chortles.
All right, all right. It's true that the real Keyr-mit is kind and honest, earnest and sincere. He's also a natural-born showman. And the great Constantine is none of those things. But that doesn't bother the evil mastermind.
Bah! He can fake all of that.
We all know, of course, that Kermit and Miss Piggy have had a sincere, decades-long romance. For nearly as long, Kermit has been reluctant to pop the big question and to, well, hop into marriage. But as Constantine plots to marry the fabulous Miss Piggy as part of his diabolical plot, we see the real Kermit and Piggy sing and dream of the day when they'll settle down together, raise a family and relish their golden (or maybe it's green?) years together.
Muppets Most Wanted also insists that love and commitment—in both romance and in everyday friendships—is what makes life fulfilling. The Muppet crew eventually realizes that they were missing all of Kermit's warm, loving qualities while Constantine was in charge. The villain gave them what they wanted to keep them mollified, but he couldn't give them what they needed. And when they finally uncover all that trickery, they apologize to Kermit for not sensing the truth right away.
Kermit's unquenchably positive attitude even touches and changes the hardened Russian thugs he meets in prison. Meanwhile, the gulag matron, Nadya, grows fond of Kermit and ultimately admits he's right when it comes to the importance of friendship: You can establish loving relationships worthy of being called "family" with others. And families belong together.
Proving that point, even stoic Sam Eagle (who works for the CIA) and a French Interpol policeman overcome initial differences to eventually become good friends.
As the Muppets discuss their next big project, the Swedish Chef suggests a subtitled foreign movie. Accordingly, we see a short black-and-white clip of him playing chess with a black-cloaked Grim Reaper.
Guest star Salma Hayek wears a formfitting one-piece jumpsuit.
The film's "violence" is, of course, all of the slapstick variety, usually perpetrated by or against puppets. In an early scene, for instance, Constantine jumps around thumping human guards with a series of karate chops and martial arts blows. He also makes some violently suggestive verbal threats, things like saying that Miss Piggy "will be bacon for breakfast!"
Later, the blue-eyed pig delivers some comeuppance when she grabs the wicked frog by the foot and thumps him around in an obvious Hulk vs. Loki Avengers-style homage.
Other slam-bam moments include a puppet "running of the bulls" that smashes a stage area and leaves Salma Hayek tattered and disheveled. Fozzie Bear has a large freezer set down on him, temporarily flattening him into a bear rug. An exploding cupcake detonates in Beeker's face. And later, while wearing a magnetized metal bomb vest, Beeker shoots through a stained glass window and is apparently blown up in London Harbour. Likewise, explosives are used to blow through walls as part of a robbery and to detonate parts of an onstage set.
Crude or Profane Language
At the very worst: We hear exclamations of "doggonit" and one unfinished "what the …?"
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
There are a handful of minor toilet humor gags. Example: When Kermit first starts booking the Muppets' tour, he plans for a full week in the German city of "Poopenburger." Among the many celebrity cameos are problematic musicians P. Diddy and Usher, raising the possibility of some young Muppet fans being tempted to sample their other music.
Some folks suggest that everything must evolve or die. But the Muppets prove that that just ain't so, Joe.
These furry talking puppet critters have remained pretty much their same giggle, wiggle, Miss Piggie selves since, well, forever. OK, maybe not quite forever—just 1969 in the case of Sesame Street and 1976 if we're actually talking about The Muppet Show. Still, for today's tykes, these characters are no less cuddly than they were for kiddos nearly 40 years ago. And today's parents probably can't help indulge a bit of wistful nostalgia seeing ageless Kermie and Co. back on the big screen again.
The Muppets' latest pic delivers all those sentiments with felt-covered glee. Sure, their crime caper/prison break story is little more than a wireframe placeholder for knee-slapping guffaws paired with hilarious musical romps, well-timed setups, clever payoffs and enough celebrity cameos to fill a dozen remakes of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. But who cares? No one goes to see a Muppet movie because of the plot. No, you go for the Muppets. And they deliver here once more.
It's fun. It's infectious. It gives Tina Fey a chance to talk with a thick Russian accent. It invites Celine Dion to make fun of herself. More importantly, it says some truly sweet things about true love, family and lifelong friendship. Oh, and the bad ghees get what's coming to 'em.
What more could you want in a Muppet matinee?
The end. Again.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Tina Fey as Nadya; Ricky Gervais as Dominic Badguy; Ty Burrell as Jean Pierre Napoleon; voices of Steve Whitmire as Kermit, Beaker, Statler, Rizzo, Newsman and Foo-Foo; Eric Jacobson as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal and Sam Eagle; Dave Goelz as Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard and Waldorf; Bill Barretta as Swedish Chef, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Pepe the King Prawn and Bobo; David Rudman as Scooter, Janice, Bobby Benson and Wayne
James Bobin ( The Muppets)
March 21, 2014
August 12, 2014