November 27, 2011

Muppetational!


The Muppets is Jason Segel's love letter to Jim Henson's creations. The old gang has to reunite to save their old theater from being demolished by an evil oil tycoon, the cleverly named Tex Richman (Chris Cooper). They are assisted in their endeavor by Gary (Segel), his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams at her doe-eyed best, reminiscent of her Enchanted performance), and his muppet brother Walter (voiced by Peter Linz). (Look out for the funny yet touching duet from these two besties, "Man or Muppet", with a priceless cameo.)

Staying true to the Muppets' original concept, there are plenty of sight gags, zany puns, celebrity cameos, and musical numbers. Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords wrote most of the new songs, like "Life's a Happy Song". Try not to cry during Kermit's sentimental "Pictures in my Head", and the always heart-tugging "Rainbow Connection". I tell you---it's impossible. Of course, the film has to end with another classic Muppet song that will play in your head all day.


I have always loved the Muppets, especially Kermit the Frog (he had me at "Kermit the Frog here for Sesame Street News"), the awesome drummer Animal, Swedish Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew with his hapless assistant, Beaker, and of course, Miss Piggy. Side note: The original diva has such lovely hair in this film. All the beloved characters get their screen time. But the film's strongest points are its lack of mean-spiritedness and cynicism, the absence of CGI, the silly but ever-entertaining gags, and the nostalgia it evoked in me. I hope this new generation of techie children will enjoy the simple pleasures of puppetry, wacky yet heart-"felt" (get it, felt? Wocka, wocka!) humor. Even Statler and Waldorf would have a hard time heckling this one.

(photo from EW)

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