MUPPETS MOST WANTED (u) Pavilion, Galashiels

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There was a time when The Muppets ruled the world. At least, the world of under-grownups.

That time has gone. What you see here is a travesty of the originals. Even their voices have been puppetnapped.

Since The Mouse House procured the rights to Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal et al, their wit, imagination and charm have taken the toilet route to the sewage plant.

Some clever clogs in marketing remarked that what was always popular in the funny old days was having famous guests on the show. Click! Light bulb moment!

Muppets Most Wanted has more recognisable faces in nothing roles than The Simpsons ever dreamed of. And these B-list bozos and bozines are flesh and blood, not simply badly drawn.

The plot can be plastered on the walls of Forget Me Do alley. Rickey Gervais, that indescribably smug star of The Office, plays a con man who swaps Kermit for a Russian master criminal with the intention of robbing banks and art galleries around the world.

The Muppets are involved in an international reunion tour in theatres near the aforementioned Bs and AGs, while the genuine Kermit is producing a one night only variety performance in the Gulag as a front for The Great Escape 2.

The film’s almost-but-not-quite saving grace is a selection of claw tapping original show tunes. It makes you wonder how the inhabitants of Sesame Street would have handled things differently.

Easy! Sack the writers, disarm the director and get rid of the gatecrashers. Stick with what you know and stay with who you are. Except The Muppets aren’t The Muppets anymore. They’re clones. Aliens, maybe.

Abort!!