Kermit’s attempts to survive the gulag are no less funny, as he falls under the command of Nadya (Tina Fey, Admission). Her tough exterior conceals a music-loving heart, and she exploits Kermit’s stage-directing skills by putting him in charge of a gulag production featuring inmates played by Ray Liotta (Killing Them Softly) and Jemaine Clement, among others (Clement's Flight of the Conchords co-star, Bret McKenzie, contributes several show-stopping numbers to the film’s soundtrack, as he did for the 2011 Muppets).

Not everything works in Muppets Most WantedTy Burrell’s Interpol inspector isn’t very funny, for instance—but the overall hit-to-miss ratio is pretty good, especially during the film's first half. An underlying theme about the importance of family and friends is almost an afterthought, but it should please viewers looking for something deeper under the enjoyable silliness on the surface.

Muppets Most Wanted is mostly a lark, but as larks go, it should satisfy longtime Muppets fans. Will its appeal earn the franchise new, young fans? That's debatable. Younger kids will miss several of the funnier gags, and the movie runs a tad too long even for those who might enjoy it (my 11-year-old checked her watch several times during the film's final half hour). But as soon as it ended, I found myself wanting to watch Muppets Most Wanted again. What more could a Muppets fan want?

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):

  • Language/Profanity: A character says, “Please, God, I need this job!”
  • Drinking/Smoking: None
  • Sex/Nudity: None; a few kisses
  • Violence/Crime: An explosion; prison guards get beat up; prisoners break out; Kermit gets slapped; theft of art and jewels; Constantine passes out and falls to the ground while introducing the Muppet Show; a Muppet sticks his head out of a moving train and gets clobbered; prisoners at the gulag are stuck against an icy wall; reference to a “triple threat”: a singer, a dancer and a murderer; a Muppet skeleton; guards shoot at Muppets; a threat against Miss Piggy and discussion of “bacon for breakfast”; Constantine points a gun at Kermit; Miss Piggy takes out her frustrations on Constantine
  • Religion/Morals/MarriageA joke about making a Bergmanesque movie involving an existential religious crisis; Constantine refers to his “evil plotting”; no one at the gulag believes in the idea of family, but people are instead only out for themselves; Miss Piggy looks forward to having a family with Kermit; a wedding mentions "holy matrimony"

Publication date: March 21, 2014