Movie date:Muppets Most Wanted

Movie date:Muppets Most Wanted

USA - What a weird step backwards for this beloved franchise.

The 2011 hit The Muppets gave us a very contemporary and accessible take on the characters, with none of the schticky nonsense that ended up dragging down previous Muppet movies.

Writer and star Jason Segel told a story both parents and kids could relate to, and injected the film with truly poignant songs - Man Or Muppet resonated on a surprisingly deep level.

The jokes were truly funny and not just corny.

With Muppets Most Wanted, we're back with the same sort of silliness we saw in old-time Muppet flicks - none of the warmth we felt with Segel's movie, just gag after gag after gag.

The songs are pretty lame - used to drive the plot forward rather than to explore grander themes or feelings.

One of the film's main problems is Gervais, who has become a strangely unlikable fellow in recent years.

You can imagine Segel hugging the Muppets and genuinely loving them, but Gervais seems lost.

Fey, playing Kermit's prison guard, tries to be delightful, but how delightful can one be in a Russian prison?

The brightest light in the whole film is Burrell as a very French policeman. He gives his all, and seems truly engaged.

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