When The New Yorker put Bert and Ernie snuggling in a dimly-lit room while watching the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision on its cover, some decried the depiction as acutely misguided. Others praised its coupling of nostalgia and social commentary. Today there’s some lighter Muppet-related fare to discuss, and this time, I suspect opinions will be less divided.
Behold, the teaser for Muppets Most Wanted, the franchise’s latest film:
Director James Bobin has said that the movie, a sequel to 2011’s The Muppets, is a homage to the great crime-capers of the ’60s. The Muppets know their way around a great caper, so not surprisingly this feature is full of Muppet trademarks we know and love: sketch comedy that straddles the absurdist and burlesque, self-referential riffs that segue into corny musical numbers, and all the loony slapstick one could want. And like The Muppets, Most Wanted has a big-name cast surrounding all that felt: Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell headline (from the trailer, it looks like Diddy is also involved).
The last Muppets movie was, contrary to some expectations, a massive critical success. It provided an irreverent and joyful foray into a vaudeville fantasy-world and eschewed the stale tropes of studio-driven reboots. The Muppets have always had a satirical edge, too; this trailer, which features snippets of Russian war camps and a Lawrence of Arabia-esque desert trek, suggests that Muppets Most Wanted may continue that tradition. We’ll find out March 21.