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  • Writer's pictureBen Kemper

Muppets Most Wanted

Or: “Izzz Not Eeezeee Beeeingk Meeean”

The last time I remember laughing out loud in a movie theater (that solemn, silent place) was Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, full two years ago. How happy it is then after two years to throw myself with violence back into my plush, slightly stained seat, and launch my guffaws. And in the company of those plush and pleasant creatures, the chaotic crew, the wranglers of wacky, and the dear friends of former years: The Muppets.

Just at the emerald green heels of the first come back film Kermit and Co. decide to take a whirlwind tour of Europe prompted by smooth talking manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais). Little do they know that Badguy is in cahoots with Constantine the worlds most dangerous frog, who disguising himself as Kermit and handing the bewildered amphibian into the clutches of Nadya (Tina Fey) the broadway loving, but iron fisted warden of Gulag 338. As Dominic an Constantine use the blinkered Muppets as a smokescreen for a series of dastardly heists and Kermit tries to escape the frozen north, Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) and CIA operative Sam Eagle team up to solve the baffling case.

Bodin and Soller have poured forth a wide wealth of humor into their creation from the lowest inanity to some high class witticism, sure to appeal to all tastes. They even down a small dram of self satire; as the faux-Kermit deadpans his love for “heartwarming lessons about sharing or waiting your turn or the number 3”. Their filmmakers and puppeteers also pull out all the stops for the muppets many feats of daring do (the forg tap dance is something to behold all on its own).

The Muppets are the Muppets, wonderful as always though their zaniness can be trying at times. The flesh and blood actors give credit to their species. Burrell’s artfully pasted over fumbles and exaggerated “Europeanisms” match well against the Gervais’s welcomely underplayed and long suffering countenance. As for Fey no one quite out does her for small comedic facial ticks, tempering wickedness with tenderness, or belting show tunes in a so-bad-its-good voice. As for the other stars sprinkled in the firmament, they are what they are, no more or less, neither detractions nor additions (though I must say, and many will disagree with me that Miss. Piggy sings a long chalk better then Celine Dion).

Pleased as I was the first Muppet comeback film (which was spectacular) it didn’t detonate explosions of mirth from me in the way Muppets Most Wanted has. It’s gags both tall and small are the finest in move comedy and its story is nothing to sneeze at either. I would gladly see it again and again until my explosive laughter had settled and nothing but quiet satisfaction in my dear old friends and heroes remained.

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