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Make time for 'Muppets Most Wanted'

Muppets Most Wanted

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Let's not call "Muppets Most Wanted" a sequel because it is the eighth theatrical film and that would make it the sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a sequel of a sequel of a sequel of a sequel. Is there a way of numbering sequels? Surely that's a question for the Count, a Sesame Street Muppet, but he's not in this film that we won't call a sequel. "Muppets Most Wanted" made me laugh. The two twenty-something-ish guys sitting next to me laughed. My husband laughed. The two kids sitting in front of me laughed. What more do you need to know?

Afterward, I was bedazzled, but not as much as Miss Piggy's costumes on display at the El Capitan.

The first movie was "The Muppet Movie" in 1979 and followed Kermit the Frog as he traveled to Hollywood to become a star. Along the way he meets other Muppets and is pursued by a bad guy. That was followed by the 1981 caper comedy about a jewel theft, "The Great Muppet Caper" where a bad guy frames Miss Piggy.

In "Muppets Most Wanted," Kermit IS the bad guy or at least frog who looks curiously like Kermit, Constantine is the baddy here. The movie starts immediately after the end of the last movie. It's sort of fun being at the El Capitan on Hollywood Boulevard when the movie supposedly begins just outside. The crowds are suddenly gone, but the Muppets are enticed into touring Europe by Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais).

By saying, "Yes," to every silly request of the Muppets (including Gonzo's indoor running of the bulls), Badguy wins over the Muppets who ignore Kermit's much more conservative and sensible suggestions. Badguy, despite the silly French pronunciation of "BadGee," does had a devious plot in mind: He's going to spring the world's number one criminal, Constantine, from the Russian Gulag, and replace him with Kermit. Constantine will then replace Kermit on the tour. The tour will visit cities that hold objects necessary for Constantine and Badguy's ultimate goal, the theft of Great Britain's Crown Jewels.

As you can imagine, there is Muppet mayhem and nobody seems to notice that Kermit has been replaced by a frog with a heavy Slavic accent and no hesitation on setting a wedding date with Miss Piggy. But what about his kiss Miss Piggy? Are you really going to be seduced by your 1980s dreams? Is that any less far-fetched than Fozzie Bear and Kermit the Frog being identical twins? Probably not. Welcome to the Muppetverse.

What would a jewel caper be without the law considering the clues, even if doing so cluelessly and with a bad French accent? Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) and Sam the Eagle try to prove who is the bigger man/Muppet by showing off their badges as they attempt to find Constantine and solve the mysteries of curious thefts that oddly occur close to each Muppet theatrical and sold-out engagement.

There are plenty of cameos and if you're a fan of those dancing prisoners on YouTube, you'll love what the Gulag inmates and Gulag officer Nadya (Tina Fey) do to pass the time in Siberia.

Director James Bobin sometimes allows some of the worst puns to fall flat, but Nicholas Stoller and Bobin's script can be forgiven because some of those groan-worthy moments did produce a giggle and even a few laughs from the tiny tikes. The Muppets are, after all, not just for adults. The Muppets are playing to the adults and the kiddies and with this international crime caper, they are likely to steal more hearts.