Movie #11: Muppets Most Wanted

muppets-most-wanted-11While I was OK with the previous Muppet Movie (which was a much-needed re-energizing of the franchise), I loved this Muppets take on the spy-fi genre. Coming as kind of a direct sequel to the previous movie, the Muppets decide to keep the momentum going on their celebrity by staging a world tour. This idea comes from their new manager, Dominic Badguy (pronounced “Bad-gee” according to the shifty character played by Ricky Gervais). In a very non-random coincidence, a notorious villain also escapes from a Siberian gulag. Constantine, the world’s most dangerous frog, happens to be a dead ringer for Kermit (except for a mole on his upper lip) and manages to trade places with Kermit and infiltrate the Muppets gang. What follows is a wonderful, fun, hilarious family adventure that I thoroughly enjoyed. The Muppets characters are all back doing their schtick and on top of that, there are guest stars by the bucketful. Everyone from Lady Gaga to Tony Bennett makes an appearance (Watch for Usher as an usher — get it?). Besides Gervais, other prominent roles include Modern Family‘s Ty Burrell as Jean Pierre Napoleon (a French Interpol agent caught in a game of one-upmanship with Muppet Sam the Eagle as they work together to solve the case of the mysterious thefts and break-ins that seem to follow the Muppets on their tour); 30 Rock‘s Tina Fey as Nadya, the warden of the Siberian Gulag; and Ray Liotta (from Goodfellas), Jemaine Clement (from Flight of the Conchords), and Danny Trejo as singing, dancing prisoners (Yes, Machete Kills, but he also sings!). The list goes on and on — you could enjoy the movie simply by spotting celebrity cameos. Courtesy of their world tour, we also get taken along to some of my favourite locations in the world: Berlin, Dublin, Madrid, and London. (Replace Madrid with Paris and you literally have my 2009 vacation itinerary!) On top of that, this movie is just really well-written and funny. As you might expect, there are themes of friendship and also “getting what you want vs what you need”, all of which is packaged in that wonderfully self-referential sense of humour that makes the Muppets special (and which I kind of forgot). The musical numbers are great, written by Flight of the Conchords‘s Bret McKenzie (same as the previous Muppet movie). To top it all off, Constantine mis-pronouncing all of Kermit’s catch-phrases in an off-kilter Russian accent is a laugh-riot! Anyway, enough gushing. If you enjoy jokes, song and dance numbers, and fuzzy felt characters, you have to check out this movie. It is the best Muppet movie so far, and a great family flick. (5 out of 5)

11 down, 39 to go.

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