Friday, March 21, 2014

Monsters and Critics - The Muppets Most Wanted Review

The Muppets Most Wanted Review
by Anne Brodie

The Muppets are irresistible, no matter if you’re a film snob, part of the young male demographic, a grandparent or a genre fan. The films are that good. The talented people behind the films, the guest stars and scripts and Muppet touches are magical, consistently and fulsomely. But there is another thing that keeps them looking good – nostalgia. Many of us grew up watching the loveable cloth creatures with the big personalities and smiles – they are permanently etched into our DNA. There will always be a special place for those who consider Miss Piggy, Kermit and the others friends.

Muppet movies are life moments for many of us. Rolling laughter is rare at the movies but a constant with the Muppets and that’s a huge part of their charm. The Muppets have a long history first as part of Sesame Street way back when to their own TV shows and specials to the beloved Muppet Movie of 1979 and subsequent big and little screen stories, eight feature films altogether.

The gentle stories, sweet personalities, big laughs and caring Muppet credo are more American than apple pie. Miss Piggy and Kermit’s latest big feature finds the troupe taking the show on the road, the first big tour in ages. Piggy packs a truckload of luggage and dresses to the nines and it’s off to Berlin, Madrid and London, never far from her beloved Kermit.

They have to make a go of it, because in these days, money’s tight. Little does Miss Piggy know that a Kermit lookalike, Constantine—the World’s Number One Criminal – with a cheek wart has taken Kermie’s place. Constantine is a supervillain with a dastardly plan to steal the British Crown jewels from London Tower. As part of the Muppet crew, in London for work, he can do the deed.

Constantine used green paint to cover up his wart and slapped a fake, immoveable one on Kermie before throwing him into a Russian gulag. He’ll stay there under lock and key while Constantine steals his life, his gal and the jewels.His campaign of thievery begins as the Eastern European ratfink sidles up to Miss Piggy and romances her. He has a little Russian accent but Miss Piggy is blinded with love, and misses the cue that the real Kermie is missing.

Constantine and Miss Piggy plan to wed soon; the service is conveniently scheduled for The Tower of London. As ever the Muppets welcome big stars to the fold, starting with animal advocate Ricky Gervais as the bad guy, Constantine’s henchman. Ty Burrell is a muddled French Interpol agent and Tina Fey is boss of the gulag where Danny Trejo, Jemaine Clement, Ray Liotta and Hornswoggle lead the dance numbers.

Other big time names who take tiny roles just to be in a Muppet movie are Usher as The Usher, Tom Hiddleston, Celine Dion, Chloe Grace Moretz, Tony Bennett, Til Schweiger, Josh Groban, Stanley Tucci, Christopher Waltz as a waltzer of course, Zach Galifianakis, Sean Combs and oodles more.

The meat of the Muppet experience is the jokes and gags. The film is chock a block with ‘em and laughter regularly blankets the next joke, so it’s critical to see it a couple of times, in my opinion. Rolling laughter is rare at the movies but a constant with the Muppets and that’s a huge part of their charm. The jokes just keep on coming and it’s a joy to experience them within the friendly, familiar embrace of the Muppets.

 35mm comedy
Written by James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller
Directed by James Bobin
Opens: March 21
Runtime: 112 minutes
MPAA: General
Country: USA
Language: English

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