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From its opening number, Muppets Most Wanted directs audience attention back to the 2011 award-winning movie, The Muppets. Having demonstrated with the latter they’re a “viable franchise,” Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the gang sing to the world, “We’re doing a sequel … now all we need is a half-decent plot!”
Compared to its predecessor, this is no Oscar winner. Still, Muppet fans looking for a few hours of PG humor and action, dancing chickens in top hats, and villains who won’t make kids hide under their seats, may find it’s what they “most wanted” after all.
As for the plot, let’s just say it’s a mystery only the Pink Panther could fully unravel. When Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) introduces himself to Kermit and his pals, he convinces the Muppets to capitalize on their popularity with a world tour. However, Badguy actually works for a Russian jewel thief named Constantine who, without his facial mole, looks exactly like Kermit. So, the criminal masterminds put a fake mole on Kermit’s cheek and have him arrested for Constantine’s crimes. Once Kermit is locked away in Tina Fey’s Siberian gulag (Fey plays Nadya, a prison guard with a spot for Broadway), Constantine takes over The Muppet Show and attempts to use it to achieve the ultimate crime: stealing the crown jewels of England.
An hour and a half later, it’s no spoiler to say that good triumphs though the plot does not, freighted with too many twists and pop culture nods. Amidst the spectacle, however, Christian families will appreciate the message that real love isn’t about wish fulfillment. Constantine’s mantra toward those around him is “I can give you anything you want.” Kermit, on the other hand, seeks something higher—what is best for his friends and the show.
Though flawed, the movie has its virtues. And its dancing chickens. And best of all, Miss Piggy’s climactic body-slam of a little green Russian tyrant. A triumph which, considering today’s geopolitical climate, is something worth cheering about.