Something happened on the way to the sequel. Muppets Most Wanted picks up right after the series refresher, 2011’s The Muppets, igniting a rather humorous song about the staleness of sequels. What quickly follows the title card is indeed a film full of all of those sequel stereotypes at which they just laughed.
The Muppets series have always been known for their clever mix of both plot and song; the latter of course not only supplementing the former, but also moved it along pleasantly. Not so much the case here where pointless songs seemed to have been tossed into the mix just to fill screen time. At best, there is enough solid material here for a television special.
Muppets Most Wanted (song) has the gang bracing themselves for a world (song) tour. The Muppets are back dammit (song) and they need to cash in on (song) their newly returned popularity. Kermit the Frog (song) seems a little reluctant, seeing as the gang did just (song) get back together and they are not (song) yet back to their full potential. Their new manager (song), Dominic (Ricky Gervais) convinces the (song) rest of the gang that (song) it is in their best interest to strike (song) while the iron is hot.
You get the picture.
Meanwhile in a Russian gulag, Constantine, an evil Kermit doppelganger is set to pull the ole’ prince and pauper routine. Dominic tricks Kermit into taking a reflective walk in a shady part of town where Constantine gives Kermit his facial mole. Immediately after, Kermit is captured, and taken to the Gulag from which Constantine escaped.
The film dips into some interesting abandonment themes, especially as the days press on while Kermit rots in jail, wondering how his friends haven’t yet figured out their friend is missing. It’s just too broken up to stick to any coherent ideals regarding the subject.
Writers Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and James Bobin (who also directed this picture and its predecessor) just didn’t provide a script to homage and carry forth the franchise. Their plots have never been the most original, but the Muppets always did a good job of giving some of those familiar tropes a unique spin.
Such is not the case here but that isn’t to say it isn’t funny. There are a handful of laughs throughout. I couldn’t help chuckling at Rizzo delivering a zinger about practically sitting the last film out. Nor could I help my disappointment that he wasn’t much in this one either. Walter, who debuted in the last entry, is back this time and just as uninteresting as ever.
Muppets Most Wanted might not be the worst Muppet movie ever but it’s easily the most forgettable.