Muppets UnWanted

James Bickford

Kermit_the_Frog

 

I love the Muppets. I grew up with the colorful, fuzzy hand puppets in my life, and I have fond memories of actually meeting Gonzo (I was six, and it was awesome).

Most of my Muppet childhood centered around the Muppet movies, rather than the Muppet Show, and so I have become very attached to the adventures of Kermit and his friends on the big screen. I absolutely adored the 2011 Muppet movie, with its focus on telling a funny and heartwarming story laced with nostalgia.

Needless to say, Muppets: Most Wanted feels like a betrayal.

First of all, something must be said: this is a legitimately fun movie, and if kids are a part of your daily life and you need something to do, you could do far worse than Most Wanted. On the heels of their fantastic 2011 outing, however, this feels like it is determined to make the franchise irrelevant again.

The movie starts very strong with the entertaining musical number “We’re Doing a Sequel”, a tongue-in-cheek reference to how any movie that makes any money gets a sequel. Sadly yet fittingly,[and fittingly?] the sequel is not quite as good.

Though a parade of celebrities, including Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burell, get quite a few good laughs and are clearly having a good time, their interactions with the Muppets seems a little awkward and dragging. The human actors seem to be there mainly to play with their accents and have fun rather than commit to the jokes and make people laugh.

That said, there are quite a few funny moments, and Tina Fey is incredibly funny in her role as a Russian prison warden.

The music is excellent and there are many catchy songs, and if you have musically-inclined children in your life the songs are worth the price of admission alone, as they truly shine.

The betrayal comes with the plot. Though it seems like more traditional Muppets fare, with the concept of the dastardly frog-thief Constantine getting switched with the beloved Kermit, and the pieces for a wacky adventure are all there. It seems so generic. You will forget this movie shortly after seeing it, as it has its share of charm but ultimately fails to truly stand out. That is not good coming off the heels of their 2011 outing.

Ultimately, Muppets: Most Wanted is a fun movie that will make for good entertainment for children and passable entertainment for the adults accompanying them. However, it is its lack-luster, combined with several lulls in the quality of the humor that left me with the impression of the Muppets turning into a stale and irrelevant franchise.

It is a betrayal not because it is horrible. Far worse, it is a betrayal of the heart. It offends me, not as a moviegoer, but as a fan who wants to see the franchise grow and reach a new generation. I hope that the Muppets remain around for a good long while despite this generic uninspired effort. If not, well, we always have the memories.