The Muppets (2011)
PG - 98 min (comedy/family)
Jason Segel – Gary
Amy Adams – Mary
Chris Cooper – Tex Richman
When I told my dad on Thanksgiving that I was going to see The Muppets over the long weekend, he replied with, “Again? I took you to see that when you were a kid.”
“Um, no dad. Not the original Muppet movie. There’s a new one.”
“There is?” My dad, one of the smarter men I know, is not a movie buff.
Indeed The Muppets is the first theatrically released Muppet film since 1999’s Muppets in Space, which prior to the release of the current film, I had never even heard of. And aside from watching Muppetvision 3D in Disney’s California Adventure (or Hollywood Studios in Florida), I hadn’t even thought about the Muppets in ages. But thanks to Jason Segel, who co-wrote, executive-produced, and stars in the film, the Muppets are back.
Gary (Segel) plans a trip to Los Angeles with his girlfriend Mary (the endlessly cheery Adams) to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Gary decides to bring his brother Walter along—who is not only a huge Muppets fan, but more than slightly resembles a Muppet himself—so they can take a tour of the Muppet Studio. It is dilapidated and nearly deserted, indicating that the Muppets haven’t been popular in quite some time. While on the tour, Walter overhears oil tycoon Tex Richman (Cooper) offering to buy the studio so he can restore it and turn it into a Muppet Museum. Moments later Walter discovers Richman’s real plan is to level the studio so he can extract the oil beneath it. Walter, Gary and Mary find Kermit the Frog, and together they travel the world rounding up the old gang so they can put on a show to raise the 10 million dollars necessary to save the studio.
The Muppets is a welcome influx of good-natured humor in today’s cynical world. Silly but not juvenile, there are plenty of laughs for both children and adults. This film benefits from multiple cameos (Jack Black and Zack Galifianakis were my favorites), a terrific pace, witty self-deprecation and in-jokes, solid acting, and of course, nostalgia. One might include its musical numbers in that mix, but for me one or two of those numbers were the only time(s) I felt the story stalled (particularly Amy Adams’ diner song and dance). One very notable musical number exception was during the start of their telethon, and we heard: “It's time to play the music - It's time to light the lights - It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight.” Goosebumps!
In Summary: I kept this review short because the real review is at the bottom of this post. I saw this film with my family and we all loved it, no matter the age. The Muppets themselves do a great job of carrying the film, and Segel and Adams do their part to fill in the cracks while still giving the real stars of the film their due screen time. The multiple cameos (the only good part of some movies) are icing on the cake here, and again the pacing of this film was great. The Muppets will now be a relatively new addition to many children’s lives, but at the risk of sounding cheesy, it’s good having them back in mine!
Oh, and speaking of “real stars of the show,” please enjoy what Roger Ebert has recently declared, “Cutest. Review. Ever.” My four nieces, ages 2-11, review The Muppets: