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The Muppets—movie review

Reviews
by Leonard Maltin
November 23, 2011 7:40 AM
3 Comments
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Jason Segel and Muppets

On my way to see this movie I kept saying to myself, “I hope they didn’t louse it up!” The Muppets mean too much to me to let Jason Segel, or anybody, for that matter, diminish them. The minute the picture started, I heaved a sigh of relief and broke out in a smile. This is a joyful movie, the kind the Muppets (and their many fans) deserve.

In the tradition of Jim Henson’s original Muppet Show, this movie is essentially about putting on a show. Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller have concocted a serviceable storyline about a good-hearted fellow (Segel) and his puppet brother Walter, who (along with Segel’s girlfriend, Amy Adams) make a pilgrimage to the Muppet Studio in Hollywood, only to discover that it’s deserted and about to be torn down by a greedy developer (Chris Cooper). The only way to save it is to locate Kermit the Frog and persuade him to reassemble the old gang to put on a fund-raising telethon. There is just enough drama and suspense to lay a foundation for the comedy that defines The Muppets. The writers and director James Bobin haven’t deviated from the troupe’s original modus operandi. And the humor is never mean-spirited.

Chris Cooper and The Muppets

All of our old favorites are here, from Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy to the original grumpy old men, Statler and Waldorf, along with a number of celebrities in amusing cameos, from Selena Gomez to Mickey Rooney (whose son Michael choreographed the picture).

Simplicity is the key to the film’s success, perfectly expressed in an opening musical number featuring Segel, Walter, Adams, and scores of people from their home town, who sing and dance to Bret McKenzie’s “Life’s a Happy Song.”

I like all of McKenzie’s bright new compositions, but when Kermit broke into Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher’s “The Rainbow Connection,” I had to wipe a tear from my eye. It’s a tear of nostalgia for the happiness these characters have brought me for so many years. It’s great to have them back in a movie that audiences of all ages can enjoy

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3 Comments

  • Norm | November 28, 2011 4:01 PMReply

    When the Muppets has their own Tv Show, they were unstoppable. It was a Perfect vehicle to display their talents. Then after their Tv run, the magic tried to transfer to film, with some success.
    I thought a Muppet Christmas was priceless...The rest of the films run hot and cold, with little direction or design. The Muppets are at their best when they are being themselves, why can't they write some good scripts around that ? I don't think they need the "Disney" seal of approval, just better scripts...and soon...Pigs in Space anyone...?

  • pat | November 23, 2011 10:26 PMReply

    I love the muppets. I just wish disney would bring back the muppets to ABC for future generations to enjoy if this is a hit!

  • Samantha Bryant | November 23, 2011 6:11 AMReply

    This is the first article I've read now having seen the movie. I went to the midnight premier. We dressed up. I was Gonzo. There were a.few others who dressed up. The movie was amazing. I too teared up at the rainbow connection. I loved all the songs and now want the soundtrack. I'm going again tonight with my nieces and nephew and mom and sisters and almost my whole family. If I could afford it I would probably go 20 or 30 times. People cheered and laughed and clapped at all the good jokes and awesome moments. I'm a muppet nut and it was just perfect. Perfect.

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