Sunday, April 13, 2014

Muppets Most Wanted review

Very rarely do I hate a movie even more after I've seen it, but as I rewatched 2011's The Muppets last night, I couldn't help but despise the lackluster Muppets Most Wanted at a whole new level. After all that Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller and James Bobin did to bring this franchise back from the dead in 2011 with The Muppets (one of my favorite films of that year), the latter two destroy it with Muppets Most Wanted, a boring, unfunny, misguided sequel that makes all the wrong moves. The inspired humor is gone, the emotion isn't there and the Muppets take a back seat to the human characters, played by actors who think that they're doing a good job just because of the "funny" accent that they're doing. As much as it pains me to say this, Muppets Most Wanted has probably killed this franchise. It's a cheap-looking, uninspired, mistake-ridden sequel with not much to offer to anyone.

Muppets Most Wanted continues the story of Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Miss Piggy and all the Muppets. The film picks up right where the last one left off with a hilarious number titled "We're Doing a Sequel!" that pretty much exactly predicts how terrible this movie will be with lines like "and everybody knows the sequel's never quite as good." After that one bit of inspired humor, we head off to a cafe where the Muppets are meeting with Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) who is offering to take the Muppets on a world tour. Kermit reluctantly accepts and the gang heads to Berlin for their first show. However, it turns out that Dominic is a bad guy working for the evil frog Constantine, who looks exactly like Kermit with the exception of a small mole. While Kermit is walking through the streets of Berlin, he runs into Constantine, who slaps a mole on his face and runs off. Kermit is arrested by Russian prison chief Nadya (Tina Fey) and sent to Siberia while Constantine pretends to be Kermit for a while. Meanwhile, Sam Eagle and an INTERPOL agent (Ty Burrell) also have a subplot about tracking down Constantine.

That's far from a bad premise, but it's one that relies too heavily on the boring human characters and not enough on the Muppets. Tina Fey and Ty Burrell are flat-out bad in this movie at times (especially Fey) and Gervais looks bored out of his mind. I didn't mind the human characters in the last film because they were developed and added to the plot in some way. In this film, the three main human characters are so criminally underdeveloped that you don't care about them at all. Fey and Burrell's characters seem to have one trait (a funny accent) and Gervais seems to always be stealing stuff. You get no backstory for them, there's no emotional connection, they're just there.

The biggest problem this movie encounters is that it isn't that funny. Heck, I wouldn't even say that it's that entertaining. There's no emotional investment in the plot and the new characters are all extremely annoying. Especially Constantine, who is the lead villain of the film. Whoever came up with that idea needs to not work on the next movie (if there is one). Constantine is boring and such an inherently bad idea. There's nothing remotely funny about him. In fact, there's barely anything remotely funny about this movie. While the first film featured clever humor and inspired gags, this one features extreme overacting and ridiculous accents. The songs are by far the best aspect of this movie and even they pale in comparison with the first film.

This film also looks extremely cheap. There are so many ridiculously noticeable mistakes thrown throughout this movie that it distracts from the overall product. There are times where Tina Fey or Ricky Gervais will be singing and you can obviously tell that they're lip-syncing. It doesn't even look like they're singing. The CGI looks cheap, the locations look ridiculous and the green-screen is awful at times. It just looks cheap. There's no other way to put it.

The one good thing about this movie is the music. Music supervisor Bret McKenzie does a great job again here crafting songs that really fit the tone of the film and are actually pretty funny. "We're Doing a Sequel," was a favorite of mine, but I also enjoyed Burrell and Sam Eagle's "Interrogation Song," and I even mildly enjoyed Fey's rendition of "The Big House." Now, the songs are not nearly as memorable as they were in the first film, but they still provide a spark of life in a lifeless film.

In the end, I was so disappointing by this movie and even slightly mad. After such a brilliant opening chapter, Disney, Stoller and Bobin could have gone anywhere with this franchise, so it pains me to see them go in such a boring, unfunny direction. Characters like Walter and Fozzie, who were so integral to the first film are barely in this one. It was such a huge mistake not to focus on some of the Muppets who are much more entertaining than the humans.  If there is a third film (which I doubt there will be), I can only hope that it will be a whole lot better than this disastrous mess.

THE FINAL GRADE:  D+                                            (4.5/10)





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