Director: James Bobin
Writers: Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller
Ready for a hefty dose of nostalgia?
If you are like me and grew up watching episodes of The Muppet Show, you might be dealing with a bit of an internal struggle, trying to decide whether you should see this movie. I’m here to tell you: You should. And you should take your kids with you.
They got it right. That was really my biggest concern. I was raised on Muppet movies. Even today, I enjoy popping the original movie in and watching the campy silliness. From the bad jokes, to the genius dialogue, to the songs that managed to be both hilarious and touching, it never gets old for me.
The Muppets is a movie with two distinct acts. The first act revolves around a plot to destroy the original Muppet studio to get to the wealth of oil buried beneath it, and a devoted fan’s wish to meet his heroes. Jason Segel and Amy Adams are appropriately campy and silly, which helps to get things started on the right foot. Chris Cooper is hilarious as the evil oil tycoon. Right from the beginning, the Muppets pick up right where they left off. Statler and Waldorf heckle mercilessly, Fozzie Bear is still telling terrible jokes, and Miss Piggy is as fabulous as ever.
The opening number will get you snickering, and Kermit’s moving song “Pictures in My Head” will have you reaching for the hankies. The same silly self-referential humor is present as well, with important plot points being noted for the benefit of the audience, as well as taking cues from previous films (when the question is raised as to how to gather the gang, Kermit answers, “Don’t you remember our first movie? We drive!”). Part of the fun of watching this movie is feeling like you are an integral part of the show.
That said, the best part of this movie was easily the second act, in which the Muppets stage a new performance of The Muppet Show as a telethon. It was perfect. As soon as the opening number started (“It’s time to start the music, it’s time to light the lights…”) I was suddenly 7 years old again, sitting on the carpet in my grandparent’s house. Shot for shot, everything was right – just the way I remember it.
The performances were hysterical. I snickered my way through the barbershop quartet, and then just about fell out of my seat laughing at Camilla and the chickens. I’m not going to tell you what they sang, but I was laughing ‘til I cried. They could probably hear me cackling in the next theater over. A song during this act of the movie called “Man or Muppet” was also a highlight, pointing out why Jason Segel was the perfect person to bring the Muppets back.
So, you might be asking, why only a four-and-a-half? Why not a five? Well, because there are some things I feel they could have done better. One of the fun parts of watching The Muppet Show or any of the previous Muppet movies is seeing who they get to host and who turns up in celebrity cameos. Think about the cameos from the first movie: Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Cloris Leachman, Orson Welles… While some of these were simply current and popular actors of the day, there’s no doubt that today they are all seen as legends.
With the exceptions of Mickey Rooney and Alan Arkin, I just don’t think the celebrities in this movie are anywhere near the same caliber (Selena Gomez? Really?). Although placing Emily Blunt as Miss Piggy’s receptionist (think about it) was brilliant.
As Fozzie Bear would say, But seriously, folks. Go see this movie. It’s a winner. And I dare you to leave the theater not singing “Mahna Mahna” to yourself.
Amelia Ramstead has been playing games since her family first received an Atari 2600, lo these many years ago. She continues to play, primarily on PC these days. An avid World of Warcraft player, Amelia writes about WoW topics for her blog and as a guest poster on WoW Insider. Especially interested in how gamer culture reflects in family dynamics, Amelia herself has two kids, one of whom has two WoW characters and can barely keep his nose out of his DS. Find Amelia on Steam as ameeramstead.