Muppets Most Wanted Movie Poster Image

Muppets Most Wanted

(i)

 

Amusing Muppets sequel ups the gags, as well as the action.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: March 21, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Although the movie is for entertainment rather than educational purposes, there's a lesson in teamwork and doing your best to help those you love.

Positive messages

The characters provide strong messages about teamwork and selflessness -- knowing those you love well enough to recognize when something is wrong or someone needs help. The Muppets have really strong friendships, and they would do anything to rescue Kermit, who in turn, loves all of his Muppet pals.

Positive role models

Kermit once again is a generous, kind, and clever frog. In fact, he's so good that his Doppelganger nemesis, Constantine, is discovered precisely because he lacks Kermit's signature warmth and friendliness. Even the Russian prisoners respond positively to Kermit's example. The rest of the Muppets eventually realize that success and fame don't mean as much as friendship and working together.

Violence & scariness

Kermit is mistakenly arrested and thrown in the Gulag, where conditions are tough and the guards all have weapons, mostly big guns. Constantine, who can be very menacing, fights with the armed guards (kicking and hitting) as he escapes the Gulag, whereas Kermit tries to escape via the toilet. Constantine sets off loud explosions, but no one is shown getting hurt. Nadya tasers a prisoner, who's shown twitching from the shock. An item a character wears turns out to be an explosive device.

Sexy stuff

Muppets kiss; a woman kisses a picture of Kermit and clearly has a crush on him.

Language

The words "butt," "idiot," and "stupid" are used a couple of times; some occasional swine humor is directed at Miss Piggy.

Consumerism

The Muppets have strong merchandising ties to toys, apparel, accessories, home decor, and -- of course -- their own programs and movies on DVD.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Miss Piggy is offered a glass of champagne; another (adult) character has wine.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Muppets Most Wanted is the star-studded sequel to 2011's musical comedy The Muppets; the tone is definitely light overall, but this one has a little more edge than its predecessor. Families with Muppets fans know to expect sight gags, physical comedy, and some light romance between Miss Piggy and Kermit (and in this case, his Doppelganger, Constantine). There's some playful ridiculing of the leisurely European lifestyle (six-hour lunches, three-week vacations, work days that end at 2 p.m.) and some grown-up-targeted prison humor and pop-culture references. Language is light but includes words like "butt" and "idiot." Since much of the movie takes place in a Russian prison, there are several scenes that feature armed guards holding large guns, as well as a couple of big sequences in which Constantine fights with people and sets off (or tries to) loud explosives -- but no one is shown getting hurt.

What's the story?

Picking up where the last Muppets movie left off, Walter is now an official part of the crew, and the team -- led by Kermit (Steve Whitmire) -- realizes they have no clue what to do next. Enter slick talent agent Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), who convinces the Muppets to embark on an international tour starting with Berlin, Germany. Unbeknownst to the Muppets, Badguy is in cahoots with the evil frog Constantine, the world's most wanted criminal, who escapes prison and switches identities with Kermit in Berlin. Mistaken for Constantine, Kermie is hauled off to the Gulag in Siberia, while his Doppelganger pretends to be the beloved Muppet. With Kermit in a notorious Russian prison, Constantine uses the Muppets' performances to cover for heists all across Europe. Meanwhile, an Interpol agent (Ty Burrell) and CIA Agent Sam Eagle (Eric Jacobson) work together to solve the mysterious high-profile robberies.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

As the musical number We're Doing a Sequel makes clear, "everybody knows the sequel is never quite as good" as the original, but that's not strictly true here. Sure, the charming couple played by Jason Segel and Amy Adams is gone, but this adventure is a return to old-school Muppets: a globe-hopping trip, a case of stolen identity, and plenty of musical numbers that include celebrity cameos from a cast as diverse as the intended audience. (There's also a fair bit of action and even some guns.) Oscar winner Bret McKenzie is back as music supervisor and original-song composer, and his new tracks are witty and silly and everything kids will want. There's no song quite as poignantly powerful as "Man or Muppet," but the actual song-and-dance numbers are every bit as charming and appealing as you'd expect.

As for the story, the celebs are all happy to comply with the silliness: from Tina Fey as a gulag warden and the prison gang featuring Danny Trejo, Ray Liotta, and Jemaine Clement to Burrell as leisurely French Interpol agent and of course Gervais as Constantine's slightly sinister sidekick. But the real stars, of course, are the Muppets themselves. They will entertain audiences of all ages with their meta jokes and knowing songs and their interpersonal conflicts. Miss Piggy is a real standout as the character with the most lose (or gain?) when faced with Constantine's marriage proposal. Is the fake Kermit able to give everyone what they want, or is it only the authentic Kermit who keeps the Muppets together? We already know the answer, but that doesn't mean the adventure isn't a fast and fun ride.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why the Muppets are appealing. What do you like about the Muppets? How are Muppets different from animated characters? How can you find out more about how the Muppets are created and operated?

  • Who is the audience for this movie? Are all the jokes written for kids? Why would filmmakers want to include jokes for adults in a kids' movie? Can you remember your favorite joke?

  • Did you recognize all the celebrities in the movie? Why do you think the filmmakers wanted celebrities in this movie? Why would the celebrities want to be in this movie?

  • How would you describe the relationship between Kermit and Miss Piggy? Do you think they have a healthy relationship? Does their relationship draw on any stereotypes about men or women?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 21, 2014
DVD release date:August 12, 2014
Cast:Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell
Director:James Bobin
Studio:Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Friendship, Music and sing-along, Puppets
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild action

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Parent Written bybhyde March 21, 2014

Scary

Gave my six year old boy nightmares. The "bad" Kermit makes everyone think he is good Kermit and good Kermit gets locked up. Bad Kermit gives Miss Piggy a wedding ring that is a bomb. Very scary for my kid because he now thinks people who he thought were good could be bad people in disguise.
Educator and Parent Written byMomofmightygirls March 23, 2014

Awful and very disappointing!

We love the muppets and were so excited to see this movie with our family. Wow were we disappointed! Our 5 year old was terrified and crying within with first 20 minutes. Whoever thought putting her beloved Kermit in a straight jacket, mask and throwing him in jail...bad idea. It was really heartbreaking to see what has been done with this movie. Bad call disney. We have come to understand that disney often puts very adult and scary concepts in some of their other films but why mess up the good lighthearted fun of the muppets? The muppets are supposed to be a fun family movie. This was anything but! Our daughter can't even sleep because of nightmares about the Muppets at this point. How sad is that!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 6 and 9 year old Written byNHBookWorm March 23, 2014

Dark for a Muppet Movie

If I think about the last Muppet movie, I think of happy songs, sunshine, and an overall good feeling. I also think of laughing so hard I cried. Just the opposite with this film. I think of darkness (a lot of the movie is set in a gulag). In all honesty, there are two images of Kermit that I can never un-see: him transported to the gulag contained like Hannibal Lector: Face mask, tied to gurney. Freaky. And then another, Constantine (bad Kermit) with an iron-jaw snarling at the good guys. Really freaky. I took my 9-year-old and my 6-year-old. My 9-year-old was fine, my 6-year-old was frightened by those scenes. My personal critique, other than that, is that the music is nowhere near as catchy and memorable as the previous movies (very first in the 70's and the last with Amy Adams having the best music). Usually my kids are singing the songs after a good movie, but not the case with this one. The story itself isn't bad--typical movie plot line. Mix-up of good and bad guy. Friends have to rescue good guy. But again, nothing outstanding. The weakness is the inclusion of those freaky scenes and here's why: they were completely unnecessary, other than for parents to say "haha, it looks like Silence of the Lambs." For the kids, those scenes were just freaky images that did nothing to promote the story line. Why did Kermit need a face mask as HL did in SOTL? No reason. The "bad" Kermit he was mistaken for never had one, so why did he? If it's not needed to propel the storyline, if it could easily be cut without affecting the story, it should've been cut. My youngest son covered his eyes during those scenes and, honestly, he hasn't had bad dreams or anything. I only question the movie as it might bother other children. And, in general, I feel the movie was just "dark"--I can't think of another way to describe it. I didn't really even think there was a great "message" for kids to take away. Even Kermit says something to the effect of "wait--you didn't even realize I was gone???"

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