The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


Weekend to-do list
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Muppets' sweetness sours a bit in 'Most Wanted'

  • Muppets, from left, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Floyd Walter and Scooter in a scene from “Muppets Most Wanted.”

    Disney

    Muppets, from left, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Floyd Walter and Scooter in a scene from “Muppets Most Wanted.”

  • Kermit the Frog and Ricky Gervais in a scene from “Muppets Most Wanted.”

    Disney

    Kermit the Frog and Ricky Gervais in a scene from “Muppets Most Wanted.”

  • Tina Fey and Kermit the Frog in a scene from “Muppets Most Wanted.”

    Disney

    Tina Fey and Kermit the Frog in a scene from “Muppets Most Wanted.”

  • Tina Fey and Kermit the Frog in a scene from “Muppets Most Wanted.”

    Disney

    Tina Fey and Kermit the Frog in a scene from “Muppets Most Wanted.”

Whoa—how did we get here? Kermit the Frog is imprisoned in a Siberian gulag, and Miss Piggy is about to marry an impostor. The other Muppets are on the verge of being implicated in a giant robbery plot.
These plot details give some idea of how "Muppets Most Wanted" gets away from the charm of 2011's hit "The Muppets." Where that film was super-sweet and crammed with sly Muppet-style humor, the sequel is strangely sour, despite some yuks along the way.
We're given fair warning. This one opens as the previous film ends (Jason Segel and Amy Adams are not around this time), and the Muppets break out into a song about how Hollywood demands sequels that are never as good as the first film.
That's a very "Muppet Show" gag, but it doesn't come off here. Looking to continue their showbiz comeback, our felt friends sign up with a duplicitous promoter (Ricky Gervais) who takes them off for a European tour. He's got an ulterior motive.
Meanwhile, the world's most dangerous frog—a Russian criminal mastermind known as Constantine — escapes from Siberia. He's a dead ringer for Kermit, except for a prominent mole over his lip. (Note to self: Find out if frogs have lips.) Using a daub of green makeup, Constantine substitutes himself for Kermie, and our hero is sent away to hard labor.
Gervais has a funny song with Constantine where they argue over who's the No. 1 villain. Kermit, meanwhile, is asked by a stern prison guard (Tina Fey) to supervise the camp's musical production.
That's how we get to the surreal scene of prisoners performing "I Hope I Get It" from "A Chorus Line." Their grubby ranks include Jemaine Clement, Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo. (The movie has a zillion celebrity cameos, some quick, some slightly longer.)
The new songs are again composed by Bret McKenzie, who won an Oscar for the previous film. Despite a few choice moments, these fall short of last time—and even when they're funny, they carry a whiff of vinegar that seems out of place.
Tina Fey is in good form, and Ty Burrell ("Modern Family") nails his Inspector Clouseau-like character, an Interpol agent investigating robberies that happen to occur next door to the Muppets' performances.
Geopolitically, "Most Wanted" is timely in its targeting of Russian overreach as a subject. But this, too, might be another reason this movie stumbles when it ought to leap.
"Muppets Most Wanted" (two stars)
A sequel to the 2011 hit, but replacing the super-sweet charm of that film with an oddly sour aftertaste. Kermit the Frog is imprisoned in a Russian gulag, and an evil impostor uses the Muppets for dastardly purposes — maybe a little too dark for a Muppet picture. With Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey.
Rating: PG, for subject matter
Opening: Friday at Alderwood, Cinebarre Mountlake Terrace, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Olympic Theatre, Stanwood Cinemas, Pacific Place, Thorton Place Stadium, Varsity, Woodinville, Cascade Mall, Oak Harbor Plaza.
Story tags » Movies

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.