Film pick: Disney's Muppets: Most Wanted (PG)

Film pick: Disney's Muppets: Most Wanted (PG)
Muppets Most Wanted
Muppets Most Wanted has a tough act to follow because the first time pulled out all the stops. But anybody who grew up with this furry bunch and still has an inner child will know resisting the Muppets' classic comic charm is futile.

SINGAPORE - Almost six decades in and The Muppets seem to lose none of their timeless appeal with their wicked absurdist humour. A 2011 big screen namesake reboot became their most successful cinematic outing ever, prompting this sequel which Kermit and gang are quick to acknowledge as a bit of a cash-grab in the movie's opening number, We're Doing a Sequel.

But that's just their good ol' self-referential humour kicking in early, with the lyrics warning this might not be half as good as the original. Unfortunately, they might have also spoken a little too soon. To be fair, the first film did set the bar very high with its zany energy, blink-and-you'll-miss-it celebrity cameos and outrageous laugh-a-minute gags.

Muppets Most Wanted follows pretty much the same formula and is an entertaining romp; though the surprise factor is no longer as fresh. The wholesome goofiness of Jason Segel and Amy Adams from the first film - which gave it an all-ages appeal - is also missing because they've been replaced by Ricky Gervais (The Office) and Tina Fey (30 Rock).

Both Gervais and Fey boast a broader comic range which they put to good use here but their following is slightly older because of their works on television so Muppets Most Wanted feels less family-oriented. Throw in a couple of Cold War references - the villain is a Russian frog and parts of the film take place in a Siberian Gulag - and it's almost as if returning director-writer James Bobin and co-writer Nicholas Stroller momentarily forgot about the kids this time round.

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