THE MUPPETS Review

I am a child born of the late 80's and raised in the 90's. A time when if you didn't have any older siblings (like myself) to reference what was cool in that day then you were lost in the shuffle of Alf, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and eventually Power Rangers. All of which I enjoyed very much and despite coming to realize and understand who the Muppet's were, they and their show were not ingrained into my childhood mythology. I never even saw the last big screen outing "Muppet's in Space" that had every right to introduce me to these characters, but alas it wasn't meant to be and I am kind of glad I had to wait until now to be personally introduced to Kermit and the gang. Before, they were relative celebrities I only heard stories of; now, I feel a part of the Muppet community. As should everyone who goes out and sees (regardless of who is in the directors chair) Jason Segel's masterfully done re-introduction to these clearly beloved characters. I may not have the credentials from my childhood to warrant major love and investment in this film but it certainly is an immensely enjoyable film that will please old and new fans alike. It is a fun, corny romp with some catchy tunes and a nice supporting cast that features plenty of celebrity cameos to keep the Muppet faithful satisfied.

Mary (Amy Adams), Gary (Jason Segel), Walter (voice of
Peter Linz) and Kermit round up the old gang.
I enjoyed how Segel and co-writer Nicholas Stoller were smart enough to make the movie one with a light enough plot for the younger audience members to follow while keeping in plenty of jokes to fly right over their heads. This combined with their wink and nod satire to musicals of ole and movies in general when characters will ask for montages or "travel by map" gives the film a perfect kind of tone that while almost poking fun at itself also allows for us to relish in the simplicity of it all. The film is also clever for acknowledging the real life lack of Muppet influence on current pop culture. It makes it clear the Muppet's themselves are unsure in this day and age of 3D and computer animated cartoons, that their brand of fuzzy animals singing old songs is no longer desired. This allows the set up for Segel, playing the sweet and lovable Gary who has a Muppet brother named Walter as they travel to Los Angeles with Gary's long time girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams doing her Enchanted thing) to visit the Muppet studios.

Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plots how he is going to
destroy the old Muppet theater.
Walter doesn't even seem to realize he was a Muppet until seeing them on TV and upon arriving at their old stomping grounds he is shocked to see the place in disarray. He becomes even more disturbed when overhearing Chris Cooper as evil oil baron Tex Richman (maniacal laugh) plot to destroy the studio and salvage the oil underneath. Thus leading he, Gary, and Mary to track down Kermit (he'll know what to do) and inevitably get the whole gang back together for one last show to raise the money to save their home. I was simply happy to see that such a sincere fan as Segel was given this opportunity and in the end able to pull off a faithful homage to his favorite childhood show while introducing them successfully to a new generation. Segel also employs his songwriting abilities here with catchy, but almost more importantly, funny songs such as the opening and finale number, "Life's A Happy Song" as well as Mr. Cooper rapping that while funny, made me slightly embarrassed for the guy. The standout is clearly "Man Or Muppet" though, which you should go listen to here. Right now.

Kermit and Miss. Piggy reunite after some serious effort
on the frog's part.
I don't think I've come out of another film this year with as big a smile on my face and just an all around good feeling as I did when exiting "The Muppet's". It is honestly a triumph of all things innocent and simple. It shows with unabashed heart that all we really need is silliness and self aware musical numbers to which we feel all goofy and warm inside. And while I enjoyed the movie with not a care in the world, at the end I probably didn't love it as much as those who returned for a nostalgia trip or a young child discovering the power of felt for the first time. I liked it, and I liked it a lot, but love isn't the word for it. It is touching at times and it certainly made me a fan of the troupe, but I guess what I am really trying to say is that I hope Segel gets to bring his brand of Muppet movie out for another round because as much as I enjoyed this first film, I would love to see more. "The Muppets" feels like a fresh start for something new, something great that Segel can not only use to expand his celebrity with but to live out a passion for songwriting and puppetry. It seems he would no doubt jump at the chance to do so and if he does, I'm sure I'll fall even harder the next time the Muppet's hit theaters.