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Wacky "Muppets Most Wanted" is fun for all ages (Blu-ray review)

Muppets Most Wanted

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Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Muppets Most Wanted poster
Walt Disney Pictures

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell

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The studio has ordered another Muppet sequel - and this time, Kermit and the gang are headed on a world tour! Thanks to their new manager, Dominic Badguy (Gervais), the Muppets have lined up sold-out shows across all of Europe. But unbeknownst to them, Badguy is in cahoots with a criminal named Constantine - an amphibian who bears a striking resemblance to one Kermit the Frog - and the two are in the midst of stringing together one of the biggest jewel heists known to man. When Kermit mysteriously disappears, Constantine begins impersonating the Muppets' lovable leader and things get out of hand fast. With "The Muppet Show" quickly spiraling out of control and the dastardly duo of Constantine and Badguy closing in on their biggest burglary yet, it's up to a trio of unlikely heroes to break Kermit out of a high-security Siberian prison and save the day!

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The Breakdown:

First and foremost, "Muppets Most Wanted" features some of the most clever, witty and genuinely humorous dialogue in recent memory. While some of the songs seem a little bit forced (none, thankfully, as bad as 2011's "Me Party"), viewers will have to hand it to director James Bobin, lyricist Bret McKenzie and their colleagues - that's some pretty impressive writing.

It's always good to get the gang back together - and it's nice to have a modern-day Muppet movie that doesn't spend an hour and a half introducing a new character. Although Constantine is a new addition, the movie never feels like it is all about him. The plot's main focus is on Kermit and Piggy, with a few other classic characters getting their fair share of time in the spotlight. Oh, and Walter is still around, but his role has been considerably downgraded from the last film, which isn't a bad thing. Several other favorites like Rizzo, Sweetums, the Swedish Chef, among others, also make brief appearances in the movie and it doesn't feel like anybody gets left out.

Speaking of cameos, this show is chock-full of them, even to the point where if you blink or look away for a second, you might miss one. But the trained eye will notice spots by Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Usher, James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston and a veritable plethora of other celebrity friends. (Without giving away any spoilers, there are a couple guest spots that are flat-out hilarious.)

While the cameos are a fun touch, the three main humans in the film aren't too shabby, either. Gervais is a hoot as the devious Dominic Badguy, Tina Fey is decent (if you can put up with her obnoxious Russian accent) and Ty Burrell steals several scenes as the head of Interpol. The three all genuinely seem to be having a blast working alongside their puppet peers.

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The Verdict:

When the frantic pace of plot and the show's relentless reliance on slapstick gags are accounted for, "Muppets Most Wanted" starts to feel a bit long, especially toward the end of the third act. It almost seems like the movie may never end. Thankfully, a charming cast of creatures and entertaining performances by Gervais, Fey and Burrell make the show enjoyable from start to finish.

While, admittedly, the stereotypical Muppet humor is probably not for everyone, overall, the movie is abundantly entertaining and pleasantly funny, with a little dash of tenderness that should attract viewers of practically every demographic. This film is good, clean fun that is ideal for young audiences, while still being fun for adults. There's no real reason why this one shouldn't make an immediate addition to your collection of family-friendly movies.

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Similar movies: "The Muppets" (2011), "The Muppet Movie" (1979), "The Muppets Take Manhattan" (1984)

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Blu-ray bonus features:

- Audio in English, French, Spanish, English Descriptive Audio

- Subtitles in English, French, Spanish

- "The Longer Longest Blooper Reel in Muppets History": Well, at least it's longer from the one from the last film.

- "Rizzo's Biggest Fan": One disgruntled fan writes director James Bobin pleading for more screen time for his favorite Muppet rat.

- "I'll Get You What You Want" music video performed by Bret McKenzie: Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie performs "I'll Get You What You Want."
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Directed by: James Bobin

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Running time: 107 minutes

MPAA rating: PG for "some mild action." Nothing universally offensive. Appropriate for all ages.

Costars Steve Whitmire (voice), Eric Jacobson (voice), Dave Goelz (voice), Matt Vogel (voice)

Blu-ray release date: August 12, 2014

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