Reuniting many of the key personnel from 2011’s The Muppets – frog, director, pig, songwriter, uncategorisable creatures – pretty much the only ones sadly absent here are leads Jason Segel and Amy Adams. Luckily, this new film proves their work in successfully reviving the franchise has been done, and it can now move forward into less self-referential territory with some fresh faces.
Where The Muppets got the gang back together, and by proxy introduced Jim Henson’s characters to a new generation, Muppets Most Wanted is in road-tripping caper mode, following the gang on a tour of Europe organised by new business partner Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais). Gervais doesn’t exactly stretch his acting chops, but seems totally at home in the Muppet world, frequently sharing the screen with Kermit and his evil doppleganger Constantine without playing up the absurdity. The same cannot be said of Tina Fey and Ty Burrell, but both peddle a line of supporting role ridiculousness that suits performing alongside brightly coloured puppets, also seen in the film’s numerous cameos (including a welcomingly unlikely trio of gulag inmates who get plenty of moments to shine under the Siberian spotlight).
Sight gags, slapstick and puns abound as you’d expect, with James Bobin again keeping the Muppets moving at a brisk pace, at least most of the time. At points you’re waiting for the next song or big moment to arrive, but they’re satisfying enough to make the wait worthwhile. I’m not sure Bret McKenzie has another Oscar on the way, but his songwriting here is once again ideally suited to the Muppet universe, from Conchord-ian pastiche to boisterous sing-alongs.
‘Muppets Most Wanted’ Movie Times