Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“It’s the Muppet telethon…Yaaaaaayyyyy!!,” exclaims Kermit the Frog putting on one last show with all his old Muppet friends in their old theatre in an effort to save it from destruction in the comedy movie, The Muppets.
The Muppets have been out of the spotlight for at least 12 years and have all gone their separate ways when the film begins. Even their old rundown studio is now just an attraction for lost, out of town tourists looking for the Universal Studios Tour. When two of the biggest Muppet fans of all time – Walter and his older brother, Gary (Jason Segel) , along with Mary (Amy Adams) – discover a rich tycoon’s sinister plot to destroy the theatre in order to drill for oil, the horrified fans go on a hunt to find Kermit the Frog in hopes he’ll know what to do.
Once they’re past the electric fence guarding Kermit’s mansion, the three convince the Frog to head out and gather the old gang back together again to put on one last big telethon to raise enough money to buy the theatre back. Time is against them as they travel all over the world from Santa Barbara, Reno, Las Vegas, and even Paris to bring all the Muppets back to Los Angeles, renovate the studio, and find a television network to air their telethon. Plus, the almost impossible task of finding a celebrity guest host.
Funny, sweet, and at times silly, The Muppets is a family comedy/musical that at its very best brings the classic Muppet characters back to the big screen. Although the world around them has changed, the Muppets have not. Kermit is still their upbeat and positive leader always striving to do the right thing. Fozzie Bear is still Kermit’s right hand man…er…uh…‘bear’ and is still trying to be funny. Rowlf the Dog still plays the piano. The Great Gonzo is still attempting incredibly dangerous and stupid stunts. Sam the Eagle’s still searching for culture, and Miss Piggy is still the loud, karate-chopping, prima donna star of the show.
Voice talents Steve Whitmire and Eric Jacobson, who have taken over for the late Jim Henson and Frank Oz of bringing to life Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Beaker, and many others, do a great job.
Another big plus is the casting of celebrities in cameos throughout the film, just as The Muppet Movie and most of their sequels have done in the past. There are also a few celebrities, who won’t be named here, who appear as themselves.
One of the few problems with this new Muppet adventure is with the humans. Jason Segel, who gets credit for going to Disney to convince them to bring the Muppets out of hiatus and co-writing the script, unfortunately feels the need to take up too much of the film’s time with a side plot romance between his character Gary and Amy Adams’ Mary. The couple never getting a chance to be alone together because of his needy Muppet brother Walter and trying to help save the theatre just distracts the attention away from the true stars of the film. Hello…the movie’s title is “THE MUPPETS” not “Will Gary and Mary ever have their romantic dinner for Two?!”
Another flaw is with the new songs and production numbers. Unlike The Muppet Movie which had great unforgettable songs such as “Rainbow Connection” and “Movin’ Right Along” to name a few, the songs in this new Muppet musical are completely forgettable – and most of them are sung by Segel and Adams NOT the Muppets.
Charming, heart-felt and goofy, The Muppets is a family fun adventure for kids as well as adults that should not be missed. “It’s time to cue the music. It’s time to light the lights.” And, it’s time to see the Muppets.
The Muppets hit theaters on November 23, 2011 and is rated PG for some mild rude humor.