Those merry Muppets are back and on a world tour, no less, in “Muppets Most Wanted.” And, while not as good as the 2011 reboot, this follow-up has enough laughs and zippy musical numbers to keep Muppet fans more than happy.
The story picks up immediately after the Muppets triumphant effort to save their old theater. Enter Ricky Gervais as Dominic Badguy (not pronounced as it’s spelled). He smiles a lot and knows how to butter up a sock puppet with compliments and false praise. He signs on to be our heroes’ agent and quickly asks, “what next?” He answers, “How about a world tour?” Kermit is reluctant, and would rather work on the act first with his reunited buddies. But he gives in eventually and off they go on their world adventure.
What our puppet friends don’t know is that Dominic is secretly known as Number 2. He’s the not-so-bright accomplice to the world’s most dangerous Frog, Constantine. Together Constantine and Dominic plan to use the Muppets as patsies in a scheme to steal the crown jewels of England.
Constantine looks exactly like Kermit, except for a mole on his face. That is covered up with a bit of green makeup. And, of course, Constantine will have to lose that Russian accent. He ingratiates his way into the Muppets clan, after kidnapping Kermit and sending him to a Russian gulag. Eventually, Constantine blends in with his puppet pals, with almost no one the wiser. And, so it goes.
Although the story slows a bit here and there, the film, even at nearly two hours in length, is wonderfully entertaining. Not only do you have the cornball puppet humor, there are delightful musical numbers, both original and parodies that had me humming on the way out of the theater. Really nice original tunes, nicely choreographed with fun lyrics and lots of sight gags. Corny and sweet. Sometimes clever. My particular favorite was a disco number by Constantine (as Kermit) wooing Miss Piggy after she suspects he’s insincere about their blossoming relationship. It seems Constantine believes the best way to keep the Muppets in line is to give them what they want (including that you-know-what issue with Miss Piggy).
Add some great cameos like you would have expected on the old Muppets TV show, and you got some great entertainment here. In fact, adults might like “Muppets Most Wanted” more than the kids. It’s a nostalgia trip worth taking. Fun, and plenty of it. Grade: B+