Friday, October 19, 2018
Things To Do

Review: 'Muppets Most Wanted' isn't brilliant but is pleasant enough

We're now two movies into the second generation of Muppet films and it's feeling a lot like the first. A marvelous introduction, then a formulaic series of adventures, each a little less wondrous than before. The glorious rainbow connection of 1979's The Muppet Movie faded over 20 years into pirate puns and pigs in space.

It took the obsessive sincerity and connections of Jason Segel to resurrect the franchise's magic with 2011's The Muppets, making Muppets Most Wanted this generation's The Great Muppet Caper, a sequel for which simply being amusing is a disappointment.

That both movies involve European jewel heists plotted by prickly personalities (Charles Grodin then, Ricky Gervais now) suggests the assembly line is set in motion once again. We're not yet at the point of insignificance, but a throwaway Muppetizing of a Dickens novel or a Hunger Games parody seems imminent.

Muppets Most Wanted picks up when the comeback movie's musical finale wrapped, with backside doubles for Segel and Amy Adams, whose wide-eyed wonder and all-around perkiness are missed. The movie soft-pedals its shortcomings with the opening number We're Doing a Sequel, with Kermit and his pals spelling out the imitations and limitations to follow, a wily pre-emptive strike against criticism.

The gang's next move is a world tour under the crooked management of Dominic Badguy (pronounced Bad-gee, since it's French), played by Gervais. His scheme involves subbing Kermit in a Siberian gulag for his doppleganger, Constantine, the world's most dangerous and untalented frog, to steal England's crown jewels. The plot gets thinly stretched from Madrid to Siberia, where the prison's warden (Tina Fey) develops a crush on Kermit. Meanwhile, an Interpol agent (Ty Burrell, going full Clouseau) scours Europe for Constantine.

Without the compelling franchise survival theme marking the Muppets' best movies, director James Bobin churns out celebrity cameos and musical numbers. It's an oddly art-house lineup of blink-and-miss stars, more Sundance hipster than People glamor, a Saoirse Ronan or James McAvoy for every Diddy in the bunch. Fun for the informed ("Hey! Is that Til Schweiger?") but likely a bunch of so-whats for many viewers.

All of which reads harsher than intended because Muppets Most Wanted is pleasant enough to recommend as family entertainment. But the movie falls short of what immediately preceded it, musically and emotionally, the way The Great Muppet Caper was good (but ...) a generation ago. Being green isn't easy; making it at the box office is.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall on Twitter.

 
Comments
Walt Disney World to open nature-themed resort in 2022

Walt Disney World to open nature-themed resort in 2022

The as-yet-unnamed resort will open in 2022. It will have 900 hotel rooms as well as villas for Disney's timeshare program.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Review: The Breeders finally splash back into Tampa with loose but lively concert at the Ritz Ybor

Review: The Breeders finally splash back into Tampa with loose but lively concert at the Ritz Ybor

Twenty-five years have passed since the Breeders last came close to Tampa Bay, opening for none other than Nirvana at the Lakeland Civic Center in 1993.Yet when they finally returned, playing the Ritz Ybor on Thursday night, they sounded like they ne...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Friday, Oct. 19

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Hollywood Casino 400 qualifying7 p.m.NBCSNBaseball playoffsNLCS: Dodgers at Brewers8:30 p.m.FS1; 620-AMCollege footballYale at Penn7 p.m.ESPNUColorado State at Boise State9 p.m.ESPN2Air Force at UNLV10 p.m.CBSSNCollege h...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Singer Seal to headline February’s Florida Orchestra gala

Singer Seal to headline February’s Florida Orchestra gala

ST. PETERSBURG — The Florida Orchestra has landed Seal, a four-time Grammy winner, to headline its fundraising gala at the Mahaffey Theater Feb. 9.The London-born star, who has sold more than 30 million albums on the strength of his versatile, smooth...
Published: 10/18/18
Riverview Chamber readies for another Trick or Treat Street

Riverview Chamber readies for another Trick or Treat Street

Annual event draws thousands to Riverview High School for seasonal fun
Published: 10/18/18
Gift of Peace Luncheon helps The Spring continue its mission

Gift of Peace Luncheon helps The Spring continue its mission

Amid on-going problems, the nonprofit continues to advocate again domestic violence, protect victims, and promote healthy communities.
Published: 10/18/18
Find A Friend: Sailor the silver tiger tabby

Find A Friend: Sailor the silver tiger tabby

Look for this star at the KittyCon on Oct. 27.
Published: 10/18/18
Anberlin to reunite for Underoath concert at the Yuengling Center in Tampa

Anberlin to reunite for Underoath concert at the Yuengling Center in Tampa

Metalcore group Underoath promised something special for their biggest-ever hometown show, a Dec. 14 concert at the Yuengling Center in Tampa.They weren't kidding.The Grammy-nominated rockers have recruited their friends Anberlin, a beloved Winter Ha...
Published: 10/18/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Oct. 19

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Oct. 19

The Florida Orchestra: Music of Queen: Fronted by a full rock band and vocalist Brody Dolyniuk, the orchestra performs the legendary band’s greatest hits with power and grandeur. 8 p.m., Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $35 and up. ...
Published: 10/18/18
Reggae Rise Up lineup: Slightly Stoopid, Method Man and Redman, more coming to St. Petersburg

Reggae Rise Up lineup: Slightly Stoopid, Method Man and Redman, more coming to St. Petersburg

One of the biggest reggae-rock festivals east of the Mississippi is adding a little hip-hop into the mix.Method Man and Redman are part of the initial lineup for next year's Reggae Rise Up festival, returning March 15-17 to Vinoy Park in St. Petersbu...
Published: 10/17/18
Updated: 10/18/18