2014 Running time: 112 Certificate: u Rating: 3

Synopsis

In their eighth big screen escapade, the Muppets are unwittingly plunged into an international crime spree masterminded by Constantine, 'the World's Most Dangerous Frog'... who's also a dead ringer for Kermit. Mistaken for his evil double, Kermit is sent to a Siberian gulag while Constantine and his sneaky 'Number Two' (Ricky Gervais) lead the rest of the gang on a right song-and-dance across Europe in an audacious bid to steal the Crown Jewels. Upholding the great Muppetational tradition, it's another star-studded showcase of self-referential silliness.

Director

  • James Bobin

Cast

  • Steve Whitmire

  • Eric Jacobson

  • Ricky Gervais

  • Ty Burrell

  • Tina Fey

  • Dave Goelz

Review

Nobody could accuse The Muppets of taking themselves seriously; that is after all, the joy of them. But never has the auto-mockery button been hit so often as here in their eighth proper movie. It's a Gonzo comedy in every sense.

Starting literally where their last caper left off, Muppets Most Wanted comes out all glad-hands blazing with the spoofalicious show-starter 'We're Doing A Sequel'.

From there it's all stars on deck as Ricky Gervais' international 'agent' Dominic Badguy (pronounced "Bad-jee", but you get the idea) sweet-talks Kermit and co into doing a tour of Europe, beginning in "the world capital of comedy" - Berlin.

Little do they know that Badguy is henchman to the notorious criminal Constantine, whose striking resemblance to Kermit makes it easy to pass him off as the Muppet leader while the wrong frog is sent to rot in a Siberian jail.

It's all part of an elaborate treasure hunt that leaves a trail of bafflement and bemusement from Berlin to London, via Madrid and Dublin. And that's just for anyone who comes to the shows.

But while it's fair enough to give the runaround to clueless Interpol agent Ty Burrell and his reluctant CIA wingman Sam the Eagle, the villains stoop to a new low when they start toying with Miss Piggy's affections.

Alas, there's not much Kermit can do from a prison camp in the Arctic Circle, where ruthless head guard Tina Fey subjects him to the worst kind of forced labour: staging the inmates' annual revue show.

With the chaos directed by James Bobin, creator of TV cult Flight of the Conchords, and all songs written by the show's co-star Bret McKenzie (who won an Oscar for a previous Muppet ditty), it's no surprise to see their old pal Jemaine Clement leading the gulag chorus line.

But only in a muppet movie would the sight of Tom Hiddleston, Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo performing Boys II Men routines as Siberian convicts be par for the course.

Other perfectly ordinary spectacle include a waltz from Christoph Waltz, Usher working as an usher, and Celine Dion playing Miss Piggy's fairy godmother. It's also just another day in muppet land for James McAvoy, Hugh Bonneville, Chloe Grace Moretz, P Diddy, Frank Langella, Mackenzie Crook, Stanley Tucci, Salma Hayek and Lady GaGa.

While making inoffensive fun of European cars and other national stereotypes, Most Wanted points most of the gags squarely at itself. Which makes it exactly the sort of sweet-natured, cameo-packed jape-a-thon we've come to know, love and expect.

That said, with a big finale set in London, one golden cameo opportunity has definitely gone begging. Where's Danny Dyer, you muppets?!

Elliott Noble

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