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Muppets Most Wanted - Review

Muppets Most Wanted

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

BY THEIR own early [sung] admission, sequels seldom measure up to the heights of their originals. Admittedly, in the case of The Muppets that’s quite some height given how heartfelt the Jason Segel created 2011 movie was.

But while Muppets Most Wanted is indeed an inferior follow-up, it still has enough to keep nostalgists and newcomers amused if not smitten.

Picking up in the immediate aftermath of that last film, the sequel wastes no time in finding Kermit and company signed up by a talent agent (Ricky Gervais’s suitably villainous Dominic Badguy) and taken on tour to Europe to cash in on their newfound celebrity.

What they don’t realise, however, is that their presence in Europe is designed to enable a criminal mastermind, Constantine (who just happens to be a dead ringer for Kermit), to switch places with Kermit and use the tour to commit a series of cunning heists.

Kermit, meanwhile, finds himself in a Russian gulag desperately hoping his friends will realise what’s occurred and rescue him.

James Bobin has returned to direct this sequel and invests proceedings with plenty of energy, whether in musical numbers or cameos, but can’t quite recapture the magic of the original.

Segel’s absence is felt but so too is the freshness of having The Muppets revived. And no matter how many tactics Bobin employs, there’s no hiding the fact that the storytelling this time around is much more scattershot. There’s a lot of padding and there’s not enough here to sustain an almost two hour running time.

There’s also too much emphasis placed on evil Kermit and henchman Gervais and not enough on Ty Burrell’s amiably bumbling Interpol agent (who is genuinely funny) or Fozzy and company as they attempt, belatedly, to rescue Kermit.

That said, the songs are lively and the who’s who of cameo appearances throws up plenty of surprises, whether it’s from Hugh Bonneville, Usher, James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston or Chloe Moretz. Praise, too, deserves to go to Tina Fey for capturing the spirit of proceedings supremely well in her role as the head of the gulag, and to Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo and Jemaine Clement as singing prisoners.

Hence, as much as it may underwhelm in places and test the patience at others, there’s still just about enough fun to be had to make this Muppet sequel worth catching.

Certificate: U
Running time: 107mins
UK Release Date: March 28, 2014