Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
music in the Bible
Jason Segel … Gary
Amy Adams … Mary
Chris Cooper … Tex Richman
Alan Arkin … Tour Guide
Zach Galifianakis … Hobo Joe
Emily Blunt … Miss Piggy’s Receptionist
Neil Patrick Harris
Rashida Jones … CDE Executive
Steve Whitmire … Kermit/Beaker/Statler/Rizzo (voice)
Eric Jacobson … Miss Piggy/Fozzie Bear/Animal/Sam Eagle/Marvin Suggs (voice)
Dave Goelz … Gonzo/Dr. Bunsen Honeydew/Zoot/Beauregard/Waldorf/Kermit Moopet (voice)
Ken Jeong … ’Punch Teacher’ Host
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Walt Disney Pictures
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|Distributor||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
“They’re closer than you think.”
While I’m not quite old enough to remember much about the original “Muppet Show”, the muppets were still a tradition in my house as a kid. One of my fondest childhood memories is when my mom, dad, brother, and I would gather around our small television and brand new (hand-me-down) VCR to watch a recorded version of “The Muppets Take Manhattan”. We must have watched that film dozens of times, along with other muppet classics like “The Great Muppet Caper” and “The Muppet Movie”. With Fozzie’s bad jokes, Animal’s drum playing, and Kermit’s “never fail” attitude, there was a muppet, and a joke, for every kid (and adult). It is a shame that the last two decades of children have not had the pleasure of seeing the muppets in all their low-tech, quirky glory. Never fear muppet fans, because the muppets are back and better than ever.
In the new film, simply titled “The Muppets”, Gary (Jason Segel) and his brother Walter (who, coincidentally, happens to look just like a muppet) grew up like many children from the 70s and 80s: adoring the muppets. Gary decides to take Walter and his long term girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to Los Angeles to see the old Muppet studio and take a tour of the place. They arrive to find that, just like almost all of America, no one in Los Angeles seems to care about the Muppets anymore. The place is barren and is about to be destroyed by the menacing Tex Richman (Chris Cooper). The only way to save the studio is for Walter, Gary, and Mary to find Kermit and the rest of the gang, and have them put on a show to save the studio. This sets the plot in motion that will hopefully lead to a saved studio, a return of popularity for the muppets, and lots of zany fun and musical numbers along the way.
When word got out that Disney was planning to return Jim Henson’s Muppets to the big screen, no one could have expected Jason Segel, the star of such R rated films as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, to helm the project. It turns out that Segel is a long time Muppets fan, and his reverence for the franchise shows in the film. The only disappointing thing to report is that the voice of Frank Oz is not on display in the movie.
Everything about “The Muppets” is spot on, and it will make many adults feel like they are eight years old all over again. From the ironic, quirky musical numbers to the melodramatic love of Kermit and Miss Piggy, this film was made for every fan of the original muppets, as well as children of all ages. The actors ham it up appropriately. Amy Adams (“Enchanted”) is no stranger to musicals, and her great singing voice is utilized here. Chris Cooper is hilariously over the top as the villain, Tex Richman. Cameos by Jack Black, Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, and many more are a welcome addition to the already excellent cast of humans and puppets.
One of the best things about the Muppets, that is still true in this new film, is their values. While most modern children’s movies are high tech and heavy on comedy and slapstick humor, “The Muppets” has heart at its center. The message of the muppets has always been sincere, not cynical: be yourself, respect others, and it’s okay if you’re different. This message is such a great one that still rings true, even from the mouths of fuzzy puppets.
There are a few minor content issues, like some mild bathroom humor and one use of “butt” and “heck”, but, overall, “The Muppets” is good clean fun for the whole family.
At the screening I attended, it was clear that adults in the audience enjoyed “The Muppets” even more than their children did. That’s not to say that the children were not enjoying themselves. It’s hard to compare, though, to the many adults who were transported back to their childhood living room floors, watching a grainy television set come alive with muppets of all shapes and sizes. As I left the theater, I selfishly hoped that children would grasp on to these characters, just as I did as a child, so that I could have a reason to go back to the theater for more adventures with my old friends, “The Muppets.”
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.