Muppets Sequel Can't Top Reboot

Critics are pleased overall, but can't help comparing to the 2011 installment

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 21, 2014 11:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Muppets are back following their spectacular 2011 revival. This time, they're headed to Europe (with comedic big-hitters Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell alongside), where all doesn't quite go as planned. Does Muppets Most Wanted live up to the reboot? The critics weigh in:

  • "Refreshingly wholesome and cleverly campy, it's a family film that should appeal to a wide age range, though not every joke hits its mark," writes Claudia Puig at USA Today. "The musical numbers' lyrics are a hoot, and the parade of cameos (from Celine Dion to Usher) is a bonus." Burrell, meanwhile, stands out with "a charmingly outlandish style" that hints of Mr. Bean.

  • What could be the funniest gag in the movie is a "sly skewering of our European allies, whose work habits, vacation-taking, and such are mocked relentlessly," notes Neil Genzlinger at the New York Times. Little kids may "be left behind" and "Vladimir V. Putin is unlikely to be amused," but grown-ups may well be. Still, "the whole film seems to have a vague heaviness to it," he notes—and no charm.
  • Stephen Whitty at the Star-Ledger admits the film "isn't as hip as the last one," and smacks more of "earlier installments like The Great Muppet Caper, which were less self-referential than just plain silly." He finds a few faults (the song length, the loudness of it all), but concludes that if you're a fan of the Muppets, "you'll probably be glad to see them back."
  • Ann Hornaday writes that the movie doesn't top 2011's version, but it "does a terrific job trying," she writes for the Washington Post. Songwriter Bret McKenzie (of Flight of the Conchords fame) "saves the day with a passel of catchy and amusing ditties that keep the movie humming along even when the plot threatens to sag." Plus, Burrell is "very funny."

This image released by Disney shows muppet characters, from left, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Floyd Walter and Scooter in a scene from Muppets Most Wanted.
This image released by Disney shows muppet characters, from left, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Floyd Walter and Scooter in a scene from "Muppets Most Wanted."   (AP Photo/Disney Enterprises, Inc., Jay Maidment)
This image released by Disney shows the muppet character Kermit the frog, left, and Ricky Gervais in a scene from Muppets Most Wanted.
This image released by Disney shows the muppet character Kermit the frog, left, and Ricky Gervais in a scene from "Muppets Most Wanted."   (AP Photo/Disney Enterprises, Inc., Jay Maidment)
This image released by Disney shows the muppet character Sam the Eagle, left, with Ty Burrell in a scene from Muppets Most Wanted.
This image released by Disney shows the muppet character Sam the Eagle, left, with Ty Burrell in a scene from "Muppets Most Wanted."   (AP Photo/Disney Enterprises, Inc.)
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A trailer for the latest Muppet installment.   (YouTube)

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