by James Goodman
I went into this movie expecting to laugh out loud. Then Muppets then told me in the first five minutes that “sequels’ aren’t as good as the first one.” My expectations went from high to mid-range after I realized this was a foreshadowing device, not just an in-joke. I found that I had to force myself to laugh at most of the movie, but if you are a true Muppets fan, I don’t think you will be terribly disappointed. Children will probably laugh at most of the movie, as much of the more adult humor will just go over their heads.

Muppets Most Wanted movie is rated PG by the MPAA. The opening short “Party Central,” from Monster’s University, is also rated PG.
(spoilers after the jump)

“Party Central”
The Pixar short was hilarious. It starts off slow, but appears to be set during the same time period as “Monster’s University”, with the action starting with RUSH WEEK. Mike & Sulley have a plan to improve their ‘party’ at the Oozma Kappa House. They “steal” the party and bring it closer by “borrowing” a set of doors and activating them to go back-n-forth through an adult couple’s bedroom. The adults are hilarious because at the end of the animated short, they end up in their son’s bedroom scared of monsters in their closet. The ending got a good laugh out of both adults and children in the audience.

“Muppets Most Wanted”
The movie picks up right where “The Muppets” ended. You start by seeing the backsides of Amy Adams & Jason Siegel (or are they really Amy & Jason? – probably not as neither was involved in this sequel).

“Muppets…” has everything you would expect from a Muppet movie: music, Muppets, celebrity cameos, adventure, puns, mayhem, chaos, quick jokes, simple gags, and a generous supply of backdrops from Europe!

The plot revolves around an “international tour manager”, Dominic Badguy (pronounced BAD-jee) and his involvement with the “Number One Criminal in the World” Constantine, an evil-frog that looks exactly like Kermit except for a mole. They plan to steal the Crown Jewels in London, but are using the Muppets’ world tour as a cover to help them gain access to museums & banks to get clues to stealing the Jewels. Badguy gains the trust of the Muppets so that they’ll allow him to take care of all of the details of their European tour. Meanwhile, Constantine escapes from a gulag prison in Siberia and meets up with Kermit in the streets of Germany. Constantine slaps a mole on Kermit’s face with glue. Of course, Kermit gets mistaken as Constantine and is sent “back” to the gulag prison. The plan continues as Constantine impersonates Kermit, but he doesn’t fool ALL of the Muppets. Walter (and Animal) lead a rogue group that eventually tracks down the truth in Siberia. The ending is predictable. There is a great escape and some additional musical numbers with numerous celebrity cameos – the most exciting element is playing spot-the-celebrity to see who will show up next.

Main Characters
Ricky Gervais – plays Dominic Badguy. Has a musical number with Constantine as “Number Two” and plays his role flawlessly.

Tina Fey – plays Nadya. She also has a great musical number at the gulag prison with her prisoners as backup singers. She is by far the highlight of the movie.

Ty Burrell – plays an Interpol agent on the hunt for Constantine and “The Lemur,” another infamous international criminal. He plays well against his CIA counterpart, Sam the Eagle.

Musical Numbers
The soundtrack is already available by song or album (if you want the commentary). I don’t think there are any big hits or likely Oscar nominees like “Man or Muppet.” But Tina Fey’s song about the “Big House” is something you just might hum after the movie is over. It has a good hook to it. The other musical numbers have already escaped my brain so clearly they weren’t memorable. But – you will see most of the greatest celebrity cameos during the musical numbers. Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett & Ray Liotta are some good ones. (See if you can spot Josh Grobhan).

Celebrity Cameos
In Muppets Most Wanted there are approximately 29 cameos by various celebrities. Some you will recognize, some you may not. The best are from Celine Dion, Ross Lynch (the girls were screaming when he appeared), and Usher (playing an usher). We even get a return appearance from Hobo Joe!

Muppets Most Wanted Trivia
Pay close attention to Dominic Badguy’s business card. You can actually call the number (213-293-5218) and go to the website on his card

Miss Piggy’s wedding dress was actually designed by a famous designer, Vivienne Westwood.

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