* * * ½
(Fun for parents and kids)
A half dozen trailers aimed at kids, a Monsters University cartoon short and a nearly two-hour Muppet movie make for a long but satisfying time at the movies.
“Muppets Most Wanted” is a fun sequel that appeals as much (sometimes more) to parents as kids. The Muppets have been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember, and their appeal continues to entertain people of all ages.
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and all the familiar characters are back, along with more real life entertainers that played the Warwick Musical Theatre in a summer season. The kids will recognize Lady Gaga and Usher, who appears as an usher, but most won’t have a clue to oldies like Tony Bennett, Ray Liotta, Frank Langella, Danny Trejo and Christoph Waltz. We recognize Josh Groban and Celine Dion’s voices even before we see them.
Ricky Gervais, not one of our favorite performers (remember his awful emceeing of the Academy Awards), is very good as Dominic Badguy (French pronunciation-Bad Gee), the fake promoter who uses the Muppets to rob museums, all of which happen to be next to the tour performance sites. Kermit is kidnapped and thrown in a Siberian gulag run by a hilarious Tina Fey, while the notorious criminal Constantine assumes Kermit’s identity. The only difference between the two is a mole on the cheek. Well, there is the foreign accent that Constantine has trouble hiding.
But the Muppets are trusting souls, and they follow Badguy around the world on their international tour, as Badguy and Constantine team up to rob the world’s famous museums, culminating in robbing the Crown Jewels.
Kids will get an interesting history/geography lesson, and adults will view familiar sites, like Madrid’s Prado and the Tower of London.
The Muppets and their real life counterparts occasionally break into song and we are treated to grand production numbers. There’s a fun prologue and a funnier epilogue, plus more fun during the credits. All this makes for a long movie, but the kids at the matinee performance didn’t seem a bit fidgety.
Rated PG, with nothing to worry about. It is a Disney film, and there wasn’t even one flatulent joke.