Muppets Most Wanted
A musical nod to diminishing returns for sequels opens Muppets Most Wanted, and while this is an overall inferior product compared to its immediate forerunner, as well as other earlier films starring the felt motley crew, there’s enough entertainment here to separate it from nadirs like Muppets from Space and that Wizard of Oz TV movie with Quentin Tarantino.
Most Wanted abandons the 2011 film’s knack for sidelining its title characters, ensuring its star supporting players like Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey remain just that. More of the fan favourite Muppets get a spotlight, particularly Sam the Eagle, though core characters like the usually prominent Gonzo get scant attention in the crime caper narrative, and Rowlf the Dog remains underutilised; the film’s funniest meta joke sees one of the key characters from the 90s movies lamenting a lack of attention.
Indeed, as much as this film is more about the actual Muppets, the standard human cameos serve to undermine that quite a lot this time round, mainly because of the repeatedly baffling lack of rhyme or reason to a majority of them: when you want someone to shout one line in German from a window, Miranda Richardson is apparently whom you go to. It’s difficult to get lost in the laughter when you keep wondering why on earth certain people are onscreen, but then maybe the kids these days really love them some Tony Bennett just standing around. [Josh Slater-Williams]