Review: MUPPETS MOST WANTED (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Friday, 18 April 2014

Review: MUPPETS MOST WANTED (2014)

Although the heist setting is cliched and the story lacks heart, MUPPETS MOST WANTED is decent enough as an enjoyable comedy filled with catchy sing-a-long songs and entertaining sight gags.


After the successful franchise revival of THE MUPPETS in 2011, it's inevitable that the sequel will be eventually in the card, you know, to keep the show running. And as in the case of most sequel, MUPPETS MOST WANTED isn't as charming as its predecessor but rest assured that this follow-up manages to retain much of the franchise's trademark formula we all come to know from the MUPPETS movie.
  
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

After successfully reclaiming their fame and saved their old Muppet Theater in THE MUPPETS, the Muppets gang are finally back in the limelight. When a showbiz manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) approaches them and offers them a lucrative deal for performing on a world tour across Europe, their gang leader Kermit the Frog (voiced by Steve Whitmire) feels skeptical at first. But he eventually agrees to hire Dominic after his fellow friends persuade him to go along with the deal. However, they didn't realize that Dominic is actually scheming with "the world's most dangerous frog", Constantine (voiced by Matt Vogel). Apparently the two of them are planning to steal a famous painting from Berlin's National Treasure Museum which will lead them to an exact location of the priceless crown jewels of England. And since Constantine shares the same resemblance with Kermit, Constantine ends up framing the innocent frog for his crimes and takes over his identity to run the Muppets' tour across Europe.

THE GOOD STUFF
 
From the famous chess game sequence with Death in 1957's THE SEVENTH SEAL to the Hannibal Lecter-like face mask appearance in 1991's THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, director James Bobin and screenwriter Nicholas Stoller manages to poke plenty of fun with their creative use of popular movie references. And of course, no MUPPETS movie is ever complete without a fine collection of musical numbers. Thankfully, those particular key factors doesn't disappoint here in this sequel.

Likewise, the vocal talents from the entire Muppets gang are fun and entertaining to watch for. For the human cast, Ricky Gervais displays a playful performance as the scheming Dominic Badguy while Ty Burrell is equally funny as Inspector Clouseau-like Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon. In fact, his mismatched pairing with Sam the Eagle (voiced by Eric Jacobson) does evokes a good old memory of a classic buddy-cop duo. But of all the actors here, it was Tina Fey who easily steals the spotlight as the strict but soft-hearted prison guard Nadya. With her exaggerated Russian accent, Fey often displays an excellent comic timing and get to show off her delightful singing voice (particularly when she performs "The Big House"). Lastly, there's a string of worthwhile celebrity cameos here including Christoph Waltz, Sean Combs, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Salma Hayek, Tom Hiddleston, James McAvoy, Usher Raymond and Chloe Grace Moretz. Of course there are a few out-of-ordinary cameo appearances as well. For instance, how often you get to watch actors like Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo, who normally typecast as bad guys, let loose and show their comedic sides?

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT(S)
 
The hilarious song duet of "I'm Number One" between Constantine and Dominic; the lavishly upbeat song of "The Big House" sung by Tina Fey; and the amusing gag where Jean Pierre Napoleon and Sam the Eagle compares their different sizes of their respective authority badges.
  
THE BAD STUFF

While the MUPPETS movie is always about the Muppets, the human cast are actually as important as those endearing gang themselves. That is why the absence of Jason Segel and Amy Adams from THE MUPPETS are sorely missed in this sequel. 

Unlike the more heartfelt and inspiring approach in THE MUPPETS, James Bobin's and Nicholas Stoller's screenplay relies too heavily on a series of gags to keep the movie rolling. Not surprisingly, the gags does tend to wear thin and misses its mark as the movie progresses further. Another problem here is the entire globe-trotting storyline involving the heist setup. Instead of bringing something fresh to the overused material, the story winds up being as formulaic as it gets.
  
FINAL WORDS

Despite the familiarity route in MUPPETS MOST WANTED, this sequel remains a worthy addition to the ongoing franchise. After all, it's hard to ignore the movie's feel-good spirit that more or less will put a smile on your face.


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