Sunday, November 27, 2011
THE MUPPETS 2011: Maniacal Laugh. Maniacal Laugh. Maniacal Laugh.
The Muppets are back! The Muppets are back! The Muppets are back! Did you hear about The Muppets? They're Baaaaaaaaack! (waves arms in the air ala Kermit)
I've been waiting for the return of The Muppets for a while now, even though they haven't really gone anywhere. They still do Television movies and are plastered all over merchandise, but they haven't been on the big screen since the 90's with Muppets from Space. And it is a welcome return. There's just something so innocent and sweet and yes, of course, nostalgic, about these felt creatures. I can't even bring myself to call them puppets because puppets aren't real, but somehow The Muppets seem real and the delusion must live on.
The Muppets are no longer famous and have gone their separate ways. The Muppet Studios is in disarray full of debris and cobwebs, and it's going to be destroyed by an evil Oil Tycoon, played with delightful evil pleasure by Oscar Winner Chris Cooper. Walter, a muppet who lives in Smalltown with his brother, Gary (Jason Segel) learns of this diabolical plot point and he, along with Gary and Gary's girlfriend Mary (the lovely Amy Adams channeling a 1950's housewife), find Kermit and the gang to save the theatre with a live telethon. And the gang is indeed back! All the originals are there, along with Walter (the new guy), and they're as fun and silly as ever (I do miss that Ratzo Rizzo didn't have any lines).
The jokes are the same with lots of in-jokes about the old Muppets, the tv show, and the thin plot of even this movie. There are musical numbers that are fun, but not very memorable. There is no Rainbow Connection type of song, but a couple do linger after the credits have rolled.
Overall, the film is a lot of fun. It's a trip down memory lane. I laughed out loud a lot. I even got teary eyed toward the end. Jason Segel has written a love letter to the muppets, and we are lucky that he's such a bona fide fan as well. It's not perfect, but if you love the muppets, or even like them (and who doesn't?) then you can't be cynical about it, and you just let yourself exist in its presence.
Go see The Muppets. Recapture your childhood memories, or make news ones. The film is magical because it makes you believe that muppets do exist. That being kind and earnest are noble things to be. That good guys do have their moments in the sun, and on an extremely personal note, I've realized that I am a muppet in human clothing.
Ask yourself, are you a muppet or a (wo)man?
8.5 out of 10