FILM: The Muppets Review (***1/2)

Posted: November 23, 2011 in Film, Reviews
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Full disclosure. I never really watched the muppets growing up, and with their absence from the public eye for a dozen years, I never had an opportunity to get re-acclimated. It’s a shame not only because Fozzie and I would’ve been best friends…but also because a whole generation of children (and their parents) are listening to Justin Bieber instead of Kermit the Frog. All that being said, the muppets are back! And the world is taking notice. Or at least they should be.

The Muppets tells the story of two brothers — Gary (Jason Segal) and Walter (a muppet himself) — who attempt to save the old muppet theater from an evil oil tycoon. It’s not exactly the most original of plot ideas, but it’s an adequate one to bring the old gang together again for one final show. What follows is a rousing, hilarious sequence of scenes that give several muppets their own individual spotlight. Whether you’re a fan of Gonzo or The Swedish chef, rest assured that they’re not pushed to the background for the sake of Kermit, Miss Piggy, or even the human actors.

The other strength of The Muppets is that it was never about the humans. Jason Segal (who basically plays Sarah Marshall’s Peter Bretter minus the penis) and Amy Adams (who brings the latest edition of Enchanted‘s Giselle) are merely supporting characters to the muppets. And even with the countless cameos (Emily Blunt, Jack Black, Dave Grohl to name a few), the big names never outshine the soft, furry puppet characters.

In fact, the star of the film aren’t even the muppets we’re all familiar with. The Muppets feature a brand new character to the mix…Walter, a meek and naive muppet from Smalltown, USA with only one obsession: the muppets, ironically enough. Audiences will immediately fall in love with his innocent demure and human-like desires to merely be accepted by his heroes. Walter is also a large part of the film’s soundtrack, including the powerful and hilarious duet quartet “Man or Muppet”. Am I a muppet or a man/If i’m a man that makes me a muppet of a man.

That’s the essence of what The Muppets are. Lines and lyrics (not scenes and songs) packs itself with both a comedic and a sentimental punch. On the outside, the kid within us will laugh uncontrollably. And yet, we’ll also be pensive, in thoughtful reflection. Hand it to Segal and his writer partner Nicholas Stoller for updating this film for the modern audience without relinquishing the spirit of the muppet characters or comedy in general.

P.S…The short before the feature film is can’t miss. SPOILER — It involves a cowboy, an astronaut, and his friends.


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