Mark Fellman, Disney Enterprises, Inc.
I love the Muppets. I have liked all the films and even loved a few. "Muppets Most Wanted" is in between.
Our beloved gaggle of eclectic entertainers find themselves being recruited by promoter Ricky Gervais for a world-wide tour, but Kermit has some reservations. Pie-in-the-sky promises end up being irresistible and, slowly, Kermit is undermined by the wily promoter.
But what is really happening?
It turns out, Kermit was rightfully wary because Gervais is simply the No. 2 man to the notorious Constantine, an international criminal residing in a Russian gulag. Since Kermit has an uncanny resemblance to the green amphibious evildoer, the plan is to do the old switcheroo: free Constantine and send Kermit to a new home in Siberia.
Sadly, the insidious plot succeeds.
Flush with cash to pay for amazing venues and people to fill them, No. 2 convinces the Muppets that the tour is an overwhelming success even though, without Kermit’s leadership, what appears on stage has become an unruly free for all. Only little Walter — remember him from the last film? — seems to recognize that something is amiss with the tour and with the strange new personality of Kermit, his hero.
Meanwhile, back at the gulag, Kermit continues to protest his innocence to the commandant, Nadya, portrayed by Tina Fey. She’s not buying it, but she begins to succumb to the Frog’s irresistible charms. Soon, Kermit is directing his fellow prisoners in an intra-gulag extravaganza that utilizes the gifts of — are you ready? — Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo and even Josh Groban.
Will the Muppets' universe ever be righted? Will Kermit’s friends ever realize their friend — and, in Miss Piggy’s case, lover — has been usurped by Constantine? It’s worth the price of the ticket to find out.
Every scene highlights what we love about the Muppets and includes major entertainment icons with every turn of the camera. Salma Hayek, Stanley Tucci, Usher Raymond, Frank Langella, James McAvoy, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion and even Tony Bennett make an appearance. Despite the feeling that the story seems to be crafted to accommodate the myriad cameos, it’s still great fun and well worth the watch.
"Muppets Most Wanted" gets 3 stars from me and it's rated PG.
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