More ‘Muppet’ Madness
“The sequel is never as good as the original.” It is those famous words, sung by Kermit, Fozzie, and others, which seems to doom the latest Muppet sequel. “Muppets Most Wanted,” out two weeks ago on March 21st, is the latest in the Muppet movie lineage and follows its predecessors in bringing hilarity, songs, and a diverse cast of characters to the big screen. However, unlike its most recent reincarnation, 2011’s “The Muppets,” “Most Wanted” falls short of being a real hit. It has the right formula — the right jokes, the perfect actors, the large cast, and the catchy songs — but it just cannot live up to the last movie.
Don’t get me wrong, the movie isn’t a total flop. First of all, the soundtrack is genius. You’ll have songs such as “The Big House,” and “I’ll Get You What You Want” stuck in your head for days. “Something So Right” and the “Interrogation Song” are just as equally entertaining, if not as catchy.
The actors also made this movie work, with a host of cameos from people like Lady Gaga and P. Diddy, and starring Tina Fey and Ty Burrell. Tina Fey did an amazing job as Gulag Warden Nadia, her comedic delivery making me remember why I fell in love with her in “30 Rock” and “Date Night.” Ty Burrell was equally as funny, though more of his laughs went toward the kids in the theater than to the adults. Sadly the other comedy star in the film, Ricky Gervais, felt subpar to his American counterparts. He was still funny, but it felt as if he was more there to balance out the Muppets and give the kids a few laughs here and there than to really make the audiences’ sides hurt.
Yet, what was wrong with the movie the most was that it just felt too long. At roughly 2 hours, the movie probably could have been shortened and refocused. As it stands, it is centralized too much on the plot and on too many characters, and there wasn’t a strong base to found the movie upon like it did in its predecessor.
In the previous film we had Walter, a new Muppet, enter center stage and give us some sort of focal point to attach to as the movie progressed. We saw him grow as he realized he wasn’t a human and that instead, he belonged with the Muppet crew we all know and love. In this movie however, it felt like the director and scriptwriters did not know exactly who or what they wanted to focus. The film jumped too much between what was happening with Kermit when he was thrown into jail, what was going on with the Muppets as they were fooled by Constantine, how the investigation into the burglaries was proceeding, and how the individual Muppet characters like Walter, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and Animal, were faring. There was no clear focus in the film other than the plot, which, upon closer inspection wasn’t waterproof. And to top it all off, there was no theme or overall lesson like in the last film. It just felt like it was a 90s direct-to-VHS Muppet movie, made in the 2010s. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. It was just cute.
Overall, “Muppets Most Wanted” should only be watched if you’re into the Muppets or Disney. Otherwise it may not be to your pallet. But as I said, the songs are simply amazing and the movie deserves a watch just for those, so if you go watch it, no matter your taste buds, you’re not likely to regret it.
ONLY RECOMMENDED IF: Whether or not it is self-aware that “the sequel is never as good as the original,” the film is still worth seeing for its catchy songs.