The Rise of Constantine – Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

It’s the Muppet Show!  So when Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) seduces the Muppets into going on a world tour, they soon find themselves with bigger problems when Kermit is mistaken for notorious criminal frog Constantine.  He steals his identity and infiltrates the Muppet troupe while Kermit is left to rot in a Russian Gulag.  Now I wouldn’t say that I grew up with the Muppets, but they were always peripherally there for me; I didn’t tune in on a weekly basis, but whenever I did, I always had a pretty good time.  I like what they have going for them, and their sense of humor that routinely breaks the fourth wall really works; you always feel like you’re in on the joke, so it’s quite easy to get a smile out of you.

MuppetsAnd even if the worst case scenario happens and you find yourself not having a good time, these guys will be able to make you chortle with catcalls and insults.

Now I did miss the first one that got released three years back, but that’s not a big deal; as they are quick to point out in their opening number, this is actually the eighth feature film they’ve released.  It’s easy to pick up, and apart from two or three jokes that directly reference the previous movie, I did not feel like I was on the outside looking in.  Because I didn’t watch the first one, I felt like I was watching this one fresh, with no grounds to make any comparisons.  Can I just go on the record for saying that I absolutely love the random, abundant number of cameos?  You really just try to make sure that you spot them all, as they are blink-and-you’ll-miss-it quick; this is something that kids surely don’t care about, but you, as an adult viewer, get an additional layer of enjoyment out of.  Please stop reading this paragraph if you don’t want this to be spoiled for you (it’s really a lot of fun to be surprised by, and I don’t make any references past the photo-break), but the cameo list in this includes Tony Bennett, Rob Corddry, P. Diddy, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Zach Galifianakis, Salma Hayek, Tom Hiddleston, Frank Langella, Toby Jones, Ray Liotta, James McAvoy, Chloe Grace Moretz, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci, Usher, Christoph Waltz and more.  You know that some of them couldn’t have taken more than an afternoon to shoot (if that), and it honestly does nothing but earn them additional credit as actors for showing up to be apart of something that is so abbreviated.

kermitThere’s so many cameos that there’s even an article on Vulture that ranks them from weakest to strongest.  

I thought the big, standout element in this is how funny Constantine is.  It’s pretty farcical that nobody can pinpoint that he is an impostor, and I love how they made the whole movie hinge upon this.  Obviously, you can tell the difference between him and Kermit due to the thick, Russian accent, but one thing I admired is that you can tell the difference just between the puppetry techniques, which is pretty impressive.  I got mostly mid-range laughs from this, and while they were very consistent, I don’t think this is going to go have much in the ways of rewatchability.  Kids will like it because it is silly, and adults will like it because there are quips for them, too.

Muppets Most Wanted (2014) ***1/2

– Critic for Hire

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