MUPPETS MOST WANTED – Revew by Susan Granger

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The prophetic opening musical number – “We’re Doing a Sequel…It’s what we do in Hollywood, though it’s never quite as good” – heralds Jim Henson’s fuzzy fellows’ new, globe-trotting crime caper. Read on…

Beginning where their previous film ended, the Muppets are on Hollywood Boulevard celebrating their reunion. Meanwhile, across the globe, nefarious forces are at work. An evil Kermit lookalike named Constantine (voiced by Matt Vogel) has escaped from Gulag 38B and concocted a diabolical scheme with Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), a talent manager whose surname is pronounced “Bad-jee.” Dominic convinces the Muppets to go on an international tour, telling them, “I want you to conquer the world.”

Not coincidentally, every grand European theater they’re booked into just happens to be near a bank or museum that can be robbed during their performance. Their first gig is in Germany, where they’re a bit disconcerted by billboards heralding “Die Muppets.” But when they arrive in Berlin, Kermit (voiced by Steve Whitmire) is kidnapped and shipped to Siberia, where his Gulag is commanded by Nadya (Tina Fey), a musical comedy-obsessed prison guard. Disguised as Kermit, Constantine ardently woos Miss Piggy, fostering her fantasy of a lavish European wedding at the Tower of London, where the Crown Jewels are kept. On their trail are bumbling Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) and Sam the Eagle, while courageous Kermit concocts a Von Trapp-like escape during a talent show, arriving at the nuptial altar just in time to allow Miss Piggy to discern which frog is the real croaker.

Co-scripted by Nicholas Stollar and director James Bobin with songwriter Bret McKenzie, it’s reminiscent of “The Great Muppet Caper” (1981), as the felt-covered friends once again frolic with a host of celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Sean Combs, Zach Galifianakis, Salma Hayek, Saoirse Ronan and Frank Langella. Most memorably, Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo and Jermaine Clement sing and Christoph Waltz waltzes.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Muppets Most Wanted” is a swift-paced, smartly spoofy 7. Family-friendly, it’s mistaken identity fun.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.