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MUPPETS MOST WANTED

SYNOPSIS:
While on a grand world tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped into a European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick.

Review by Louise Keller:
Tina Fey as a Siberian Gulag prison guard is one of the highlights of this happy Muppet sequel in which Kermit is replaced by a look-alike criminal frog and Ricky Gervais plays a crooked entrepreneur. Juxtaposed beside the familiar showbiz razzamatazz of the Muppets performing in their show, the Siberian sequences are especially effective, with the presence of Hollywood tough-guys Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo an unexpected treat as they join Fey in rousing song and dance routines. It may not zing quite as much as the 2011 original, but it follows the same formula and is a congenial mix of songs, narrative and irrepressible humour. Best of all is the wonderfully created reality of the unique, lovable Muppets and their interaction with the live-action characters.

The story centres on the Muppet's upcoming world tour and Gervais' aptly named Dominic Badguy has sweet-talked his way into the team's trust as their manager. Little do they know that Dominic and the world's most wanted frog (Kermit's look-alike, just escaped from the Siberian Gulag) are planning to steal the Crown Jewels. The shtick concerning the black mole above the criminal frog's mouth is fun and the scene when the frogs swap places and Kermit, wearing a straight-jacket and Hannibal mask is taken to the Gulag, offers an image to cherish.

Of course, much is made of the on-going bickering relationship between Kermit and Miss Piggy and the running gag of the love-struck Piggy asking when Kermie is going to 'pop the question' pays off big time.

It's a comedy of errors as the Muppet Shows become a cover for the burglaries, with the music muffling the bashing and crashing through brick walls. Meanwhile, there is another running gag between the investigating Interpol and CIA Agents (Ty Burrell and voice of Eric Jacobsen), who compete as to who has the bigger official badge. A never-ending stream of stars and celebrities appear in delicious cameos, including Zach Galifianakis, Toby Jones, Selma Hayek, Stanley Tucci, Frank Langella plus Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion in song and Christoph Waltz doing the waltz. Boom boom!

The film's greatest strength is in its characters and the genuine affection and respect shown throughout. Appealing to all ages, there's plenty to enjoy in this bright, joyous and funny film with the soft heart that concludes with a show stopper of a finale with Fey once again stealing the limelight.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

MUPPETS MOST WANTED (PG)
(US, 2014)

CAST: Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tom Hiddleston, Christoph Waltz, Salma Hayek, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci, Lady Gaga, Zach Galifiniakis, Ray Liotta

VOICES: Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, David Rudman, Matt Vogel

PRODUCER: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman

DIRECTOR: James Bobin

SCRIPT: James Bobin, Nicholas Stoller

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Don Burgess

EDITOR: James Thomas

MUSIC: Christoph Beck

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Eve Stewart

RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 10, 2014







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