Muppets: Most Wanted (2014)

Muppets: Most Wanted

Directed by James Bobin, US, 2014

The Muppets are back and all is going smoothly. Well, until Kermit gets switched with a crazed Bond villain with a bad accent. And explosions, don’t forget those!

2011’s The Muppets was a strong film in its own right, but it was more of an homage to the early Jim Henson work than a real “Muppet” film. This one has less nostalgia, and the few sentimental moments are played up for humor. In short it is a lot like an old episode of The Muppet Show with the jewel heistiness of The Great Muppet Caper (1981).

The new Muppet performers aren’t quite what Jim Henson and Frank Oz were, but they are versatile and fun. Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell lend some comedic help to the main ensemble, but unlike 2011’s effort, it is the puppets that carry the show.

Some of the reviews I’ve read seem to long for Jason Segel, which is okay since his work on The Muppets was fantastic. However, it should be pointed out that these folks seem to be bigger fans of Segel than they are The Muppets – some even going so far as to ask for more non puppet people in these films.

That is entirely missing the point. As I explained in my old post about comedy ensembles, the Muppets paved the way for kid/adult films like the ones Pixar churns out. They should be viewed as films centering around the puppets with some people who just happen to be there.

That’s not to say that The Muppets is problematic. After a long absence from the big screen it was good to have a film about Muppet fans and the related nostalgia. In short, that need has been addressed – so bring on the wackiness!

Oh, and regular readers of Grandcanyonscope will appreciate the Bergman reference in the beginning of the movie.

You might like Muppets: Most Wanted if: you like the Muppets.

You might not like Muppets: Most Wanted: if you only have eyes for Jason Segel.

(C) D.G. McCabe