By Jacob Montgomery (Texas)
One of the lyrics of this movie’s opening song “We’re Doing a Sequel” states, “We’re doing a sequel/That’s what we do in Hollywood/And everybody knows the sequel’s never quite as good.” I will say at least they’re being honest. However, considering how great the 2011 film was to begin with, this means there’s plenty of wiggle room for this one to be good, and it is.
The film follows the Muppets immediately after finishing production on their previous cinematic outing. After discovering that the camera is still following them, they realize that they’re doing a sequel. After tossing around some ideas, they decide the next film is going to be about them going on a world tour. Little do they know that the totally non-suspicious Dominic Badguy has an ulterior motive. He is using the world tour as a guise to look for clues regarding on how to steal the crown jewels of England. With the help of his partner Constantine, who looks suspiciously similar to a certain green frog, they have to keep up appearances, while Kermit is trying to break out of the same prison that Constantine was held at.
Ultimately the film is telling its own spin on stories that have been done to death before; it actually feels like a remake of Ernest Goes to Jail. However, the Muppets have never been one to take their plots too seriously, and I don’t care if a story’s been done before as long as it’s done well or it adds something new.
While I do think this movie is good overall, there are some genuine story flaws. At times, especially at the beginning, I feel like the film had some forced moments to get the characters where the writers wanted them to go, so that the plot and ultimate message of the film could work. I’m willing to let some of this slide, seeing as how laid back the rest of the motion picture is, but I’m afraid that it can only stretch so far.
Also, I think it suffers a little due to its overlong run time. At times, the movie feels like it’s stretching out material further than necessary, which results in some minor comedic dead spots. This is not helped by the scenes with Constantine trying to convince the Muppets that he’s Kermit, which I found a little tedious, due to the fact that they did nothing new or clever with that.
However, the rest of the film is really funny and clever. The film does have a self-referential spirit that does make it really fun to watch. Every member of the cast is clearly having fun in their roles. Tina Fey in particular is hilarious as a Russian prison guard who has a crush on Kermit. As one would expect from the Muppets, the film is loaded with funny pop cultural references, quick celebrity cameos (my personal favorite is Usher playing the part of an usher) and even some good-natured ribbing.
The film’s songs are all great to listen to. I don’t know if I would necessarily call them memorable, but they’re certainly fun. They have a nice beat to them, and they all match the tone they’re going for. My personal favorites include “The Big House,” and “Interrogation Song.” Though arguably there aren’t enough seeing as how it was supposed to be a musical, I found the amount of songs in the film fine, and they were fairly evenly spaced.
As mentioned above, I don’t think this is as good as the predecessor, or even necessarily on par. However, despite some shaky story problems, the film succeeds by being funny and mostly clever. It’s flawed, sure, but it’s still lighthearted, warm and above all, fun.