HOW WAS THE MOVIE!?
Muppets Most Wanted is the story about how the Muppets meet up with a shady concert promoter, played by Ricky Gervaise, to go tour Europe with the Muppet Show. What they don't realize is that Ricky Gervaise is partnered with Constantine, the World's Most Dangerous Frog, who happens to look a lot like Kermit. So Kermit is shanghaied by Ricky and Constantine, and is trapped in a Russian gulag with a Russian warden played by Tina Fey, while Constantine and Ricky Gervaise conspire to use the Muppet Show tour as a ruse to steal stuff from various museums all in a bid to eventually steal the crown jewels of London.
That's essentially the plot, but since it's a movie with Muppets, the plot is pretty much an excuse to string as many gags and funny songs together as possible. You could make a pretty good argument about how this entry into Muppetland is missing some of its spark, which is what happens when you separate Kermit from his gang. Don't get me wrong, this movie is packed full of jokes, celebrity cameos (blink and you'll miss truly hilarious turns by Tom Hiddleston, Josh Groban, and Lady Gaga, among others.) Muppet cameos (my favorites included the yellow Hugga Wugga "You Are My Sunshine" Muppet, and a pivotal plot point by Bobby Benson and his Baby Band) and very funny songs.
But for me, it's all about the DOGS! THE DOGS, PEOPLE! TALK TO ME ABOUT THE DOGS!
Okay, well, I love Rowlf, for obvious reasons. It feels like Rowlf gets no love from modern day Muppet audiences, which is unfair. Rowlf was actually one of the original Muppets, making his first appearance even before the Muppet Show ever came into existence, as a guest star on The Jimmy Dean Show in 1963.
I love Rowlf because he's somewhat the voice of reason, if anyone would ever ask him. You look at him and you know - the dog has seen a lot. But he's content to stay in the ensemble and inwardly chuckle at the chaos going on.
But sadly, Rowlf is not in this movie much. Whoever's in charge over at Muppet headquarters continues to insist on pushing that dumb nobody Muppet Walter front and center.
Nobody likes Walter, okay? NOBODY LIKES WALTER THE MUPPET. Look at that line up over on the left. Don't your eyes kind of twitch and think there's a blank space in the middle? Get Walter out of the movie, and give the screen time back to Rowlf and Fozzie.
Having said that, I was pleased to see Miss Piggy's dog Foo Foo back at her side. That dog can do a lot with a simple ear twitch. Or two. Or simultaneous ear twitching. That's really tough to do, people.
In short, Muppets Most Wanted is fun for the fans, and pleasant enough for friends of the fans. And if you're a dog, you'll have a good time too.