Muppets Most Wanted, English hollywood Film Movie Review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * 1/2

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English Film review
Johnson Thomas
Film: Muppets Most Wanted
Director: James Bobin

Rating: * * ½

Synopsis:The Muppets return in this Euro-set adventure that pits them against the dastardly Constantine, a dead ringer for Kermit who sparks a fun-filled caper for the gang. Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell head up the human cast, with James Bobin from a script he wrote with Nicholas Stoller

This is a transcontinental caper that is quite simply shameless about it’s attempt to cash in on the success of the first. It even has a song that blares out that irreverence, “We’re doing a sequel” is it’s opening song which acknowledges the inferiority of most follow-ups. This latest chapter picks up precisely where the last one left off, down to featuring stand-ins for the backs of Amy Adams and Jason Segel, who have not returned. Newcomer Walter (voiced by Peter Linz) sings the opening number.

This is the eighth outing for Jim Henson’s creations but it’s not anywhere close to achieving the playfulness and fun of the earlier (most recent) one. The sheer fun and engagement of that outinf obviously will not be matched at the box-office either. It’s typically Disney- engaging but not altogether entertaining.

Returning director James Bobin, wrote the screenplay with returning co-  scenarist Nicholas Stoller, but Jason Segel and Amy Adams contribution to all that fun is sorely missed.  “Muppets Most Wanted” looks and sounds eager to please but the  feel is like a heavy-duty effort to turn its stalled creativity into some sort of self-referential joke
Although they’re newly rebanded and apparently more popular than ever, Kermit and friends have no idea what their next move(movie) should be, but after quickly brainstorming ideas (“Gonzo With the Wind” is quickly rejected), they decide to embark on a lavish world tour.
Manager  Dominic Badguy pronounced “Badjee”(Ricky Gervais), takes iver the entourage completely and only cautious, responsible Kermit has the prudence to object to  renting out the largest theater in Berlin for their opening-night performance. But the other Muppets increasingly side with Dominic over their frog leader, who’s already stressed out enough by Miss Piggy’s plan to use the tour as a backdrop for their lavish wedding and honeymoon (none of which, of course, Kermit has even agreed to yet). The difficulty is obvious. Throw in a doppelganger and it becomes doubly complicated. Dominic has Kermit
suddenly kidnapped and thrown into a Siberian gulag, where he finds himself at the mercy of several dozen Russian crooks and Nadja (Tina Fey), a stern but Broadway-obsessed prison guard who harbors a not-so-secret crush on her newest charge. While, in a “Great Dictator”-esque twist,  diabolical doppelganger, Constantine, “the world’s most dangerous frog,” takes over the tour as Kermit.  Naturally, as they wind their way across Europe by train, it takes the Muppets (save for the ever-perceptive Animal) almost the entire film to realize that there’s an evil, English-mangling master thief in their midst, and that Dominic has been using the gang’s musical gigs as cover for an elaborate series of heists, each one bringing them a step closer to the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.

The script is quite adept and knowing in it’s barrage of gags and plot. Everything here appears to have been  predicated on a general assumption of the Muppets’ appeal. Blink-and-you-miss- star turns( by Ray Liotta, Celine Dion,  Christoph Waltz, James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston, Saoirse Ronan and Chloe Grace Moretz) don’t generate any extra interest here. The randomized spitting out of  musical sequences and movie references (everything from “A Chorus Line” to “Lawrence of Arabia” to “The Silence of the Lambs”)  is also a little too oddball to keep the entertainment flowing. The human element, specifically an understanding of how the human actors are meant to interact with their soft-fabric co-stars is also quite distinctively missing. So have fun for as short a time it lasts!


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