Muppets Most Wanted Review: The Lights are a Little Dimmer

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Muppets Most Wanted opens with a phenomenal musical number called “We’re Doing a Sequel” that is classic Muppets: clever, charming, filled with celebrity cameos, and that signature self-awareness.

But when they sing the lyric “never quite as good as the original” I had two thoughts. First, they are about to disprove that with a film somehow even stronger than the brilliant 2011 revival. Second, they are tempering our expectations for a ho-hum sequel.

Sadly, the latter seems more accurate. Muppets Most Wanted never reaches the heights of its predecessor, as we get a film that feels like Kermit look-alike Constantine’s modus operandi, do whatever you want.

There are a ton of half-baked ideas and cameos that don’t use their stars’ talents. But, a disappointing Muppet movie still has Miss Piggy chasing Kermit, Animal begging for a drum solo, and all the other classic Muppet nuances you’ve come to expect. So it’s not all bad.

A bad Muppet movie would have to abandon everything that made the Muppets what they are, which this film does not. The plot of Constantine, the most dangerous frog in the world, replacing Kermit has some great gags. Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell do well with their roles, as ridiculous as they may be.

It just isn’t as passionate or as clever. This is a safe Muppet movie, unlike the 2011 film that pushed the boundaries of what these characters’ place is in pop culture. Most Wanted is a predictable story with predictable humor. What surprises do come are fantastic, but they are too few and far between.

But still, a lesser Muppet movie is still better than a lot of other movies you could subject your kids to. Muppets Most Wanted won’t convert anyone, but it’ll please the longtime fans just enough to keep smiling through the credits. Grade: B-

By Matt Dougherty

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