Muppets Most Wanted review – just enjoy the surreal anarchy | Mark Kermode

Ricky Gervais's lead may lack some of the heart of the original, but the sequel is fun all the way

After the tidal wave of love that greeted 2011's The Muppets, it seemed inevitable that a sequel ("technically our seventh" as Dr Bunsen Honeydew points out) would disappoint. The Bret McKenzie-penned opening song grabs the bull by the horns, gaily admitting that "everybody knows that the sequel's never quite as good" but insisting that "the studio wants more, while they wait for Tom Hanks to make Toy Story 4!"

And despite Disney's dismay at a softer-than-expected US opening ("definitely disappointing" said distribution head Dave Hollis), Muppets Most Wanted succeeds in delivering a consistent stream of daft in-jokes, comedy Russian accents ("I yam Kyermit thee fryoggg…"), knockabout routines, and top-notch celebrity cameos (Christoph Waltz performing… a waltz!), all strung around a knowingly hackneyed globe-trotting caper narrative. While this may lack the emotional clout of The Muppets star/co-writer Jason Segel's original reboot (leading man Ricky Gervais doesn't really do feelings), it doesn't skimp on good old-fashioned variety entertainment. The bizarre (and unforeseeable) topicality of putting on a show in a Siberian gulag overseen by a trench-coated Tina Fey merely adds to the air of surreal anarchy. Ignore Statler and Waldorf, and just enjoy.


Mark Kermode

The GuardianTramp

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