MUPPET’S MOST WANTED
(directed by James Bobin, 2014)
**** (out of 5)
> Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Tony Bennett, Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, Rob Corddry, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek, Tom Hiddleston, Toby Jones, Frank Langella, Ray Liotta, James McAvoy, Chloe Grace Moretz, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci- Usher, ushering, and Christoph Waltz, waltzing… If only they had been able to assemble a good cast for this 9th Muppet Movie. Oh well. This terrifically entertaining film will just have to do.
. After a rousing opening number about mounting yet another sequel, self-referentially funny, the plot kicks in: Kermit is imprisoned in a Russian gulag, under the watchful eye of a secretly adoring Tina Fey, while a criminal mastermind impersonates him on the world tour the troupe has undertaken by sinister arrangements of their new manager “Mr. Badguy”, (Ricky Gervais, having a good time throughout). The Muppets are being used as a front to steal the crown jewels of England, and “Constantine, the World’s Most Dangerous Frog” will stop at nothing to manipulate them- going so far as to consent to Miss Piggy’s long-sought dream wedding.
. With all these guest stars popping up often during zesty, well-written songs (Céline Dion poking good-natured fun at her own persona, Danny Trejo- dancing and singing!), there is always a delight to come. The film is well-paced, and manages to successfully straddle that divide between simple humor for kids and more sly humor for the big kids who took them to the movies. I never was a fan of the TV show, thinking it mostly kid’s stuff. But the movies?
. The least of them have been a pleasure to watch.
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