Sunday, 23 March 2014
Review: Muppets Most Wanted (UK Cert U)
After the success of The Muppets back in 2011, a sequel was on the cards. And here it is: Muppets Most Wanted. James Bobin directs again, and has co-written the script with Nicholas Stoller, with original songs by Bret McKenzie.
Constantine is the World's Most Dangerous Frog- and a dead ringer for Kermit. After escaping from a Russian gulag, Constantine, with the help of crooked tour manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), replaces Kermit and takes the Muppets on a grand world tour- including Madrid, Dublin and London- using them to cover his tracks as he plans the heist of the century: stealing the Crown Jewels. But will he succeed? And will anyone notice that Kermit's been replaced? It's a wonderfully polished, knowing and downright fun film, full of little nods and cameos, a worthy sequel to the original.
When I heard Ricky Gervais had been cast in a lead role, my heart sank. I cannot stand the smug, oleaginous tosspot and would usually rather gargle with broken glass than watch him. That said, he's bearable here- I guess the fact that he's getting constantly owned by Constantine might have something to do with it (there's even a whole song-and-dance number devoted to it)- and his presence doesn't diminish the overall greatness of the film. The other lead humans are Ty Burrell as Interpol agent Jean-Pierre Napoleon- paired with Sam Eagle to crack the mysterious thefts- and Tina Fey as Russian commandant Nadya. Unsurprisingly, Fey is just brilliant.
As with all of the Muppet movies, a big part is playing 'spot the celebrity cameo'. Well, you're in for a treat here: Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Tom Hiddleston, Christoph Waltz, Miranda Richardson, Frank Langella, Salma Hayek and Stanley Tucci all turn up (amongst many others). Keep your eyes out for Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo who absolutely steal the show.
There's no point in trying to provide a deep analysis or try and discuss themes and tropes with a film like this. The bottom line is this: is it entertaining? Yes. Is it fun? Yes. Did I leave the cinema with a smile on my face, feeling like I'd had a good time? Yes. The screening I was in had a good mix of peoples of all ages and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The script is funny, the songs are good and there's something for everyone. Well worth seeing.
Muppets Most Wanted has advance previews this weekend (22nd-23rd March) and is on general release from 28th March.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5