Saturday, March 22, 2014

Muppets Most Wanted: Bullet Review


  • We all knew it was going to be disappointing. The last time around, Jason Segel made the kind of Muppet movie that about 75% of people my age group would have made if given the chance, and he had the advantage of being a talented guy who's also a puppet geek. There's nobody who could have followed that act, but in my opinion there are a lot of people who could have come much closer than Ricky Gervais. As far as I can tell, most of his popularity is based on the fact that he's kind of a dick about being an atheist. 
  • That said,  it's not unwatchable, just a huge disappointment compared to the previous movie. 
  • Theoretically is should have been nice having both Conchords working on this movie, but it was hard to tell that Bret McKenzie was even involved this time around, with music ranging from bad to forgettable. I'm going to hold onto the belief that the creative environment  of shitting out a sequel was different than that of revitalizing the Muppets, and Bret took the path of least resistance. If McKenzie wasn't phoning it in, he needs to refer them to Dan Bern the next time they approach him for music. 
  • To McKenzie's credit, at least he told us right in the first song that this was going to be a disappointment. 
  • We all love Tina Fey, but I felt like they put her in a role that made it impossible for her to do any of the stuff we like about Tina Fey.
  • Most of the best parts of the movie involved Sam the Eagle and the guy from Modern Family, but even that kind of bothered me because of all the "European workers have rights" jokes. This wouldn't have been out of place if Sam the Eagle had been the butt of these jokes--the Muppets have always been subversive--but these seemed to fall more along the "'Merka Fucky Yeah" lines of "look at those pansy Europeans with their tiny cars and living wage" 
  • I'd watch the Swedish Chef's existential Muppet movie. 
Cameo supplement:
  • For the most part, the cameos seemed a little dated. I kept imagining an SNL sketch with some hopelessly out-of-touch studio executive saying, "Let's get some of those hot acts that the kids love these days, like that MC Hammer guy!" 
  • Old but not in the dated category: Frank Langella. The man's a goddamn institution. If he wants to be in a Muppets movie, he gets to be in a Muppets movie. 
  • Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones get a pass because most people don't know their names anyway. Guys like that are the duct tape that holds the movie industry together, so anything that gets them a little recognition is a good thing. 
  • I'm going  to assume that even though they had some Hunger Games actors doing cameos, it didn't occur to them to ask Jennifer Lawrence. Because a world where Jennifer Lawrence turns down a chance to be in a Muppet movie is not a world I want to live in. 
  • Despite having to grudgingly admit that Danny Trejo probably peaked a few years ago, his long years of being known only as "that big Mexican guy with the tattoos" makes his role deserved, especially since there's nothing about "singing, dancing Danny Trejo" that's not funny. They lose a few points, though, since Harold and Kumar did the "Danny Trejo being un-Danny Trejo-like" thing a few years earlier. 
  • Ray Liotta's choice to come across as creepy and deranged as possible was a little odd, but kind of brilliant. 
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