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YBMW Review: ‘The Muppets’

Posted by Hoob on November 25th, 2011
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new_themuppets.jpgI can’t remember the last time I was this excited to see a movie. I’ve been waiting to see a great Muppet film for a long time… definitely longer than the 12 years that have passed since the last time that “The Muppets” had a movie (the last few weren’t really great). Anyways, if you’ve been reading the site for the last year, you know that we have pretty much been peeing our pants with anticipation of this film. There were some nervous moments along the way. At one point there was a pretty harsh script review that popped up. I can tell you, that script is not the movie that I just watched. Then there were the highs that came along with the brilliant marketing campaign that Disney put together to get “The Muppets” back into the public consciousness. By the end of it, I wasn’t sure that the movie could actually live up to the hype (and my high expectations of anything Muppet). Well, not only did the movie meet my expectations, but they blew them away. In fact, if Jason Segal was standing here right now, I’d give him a huge hug and offer to bake him some chocolate chip cookies. That isn’t to say that the movie wasn’t without its flaws, but it was a damned good movie, one that I will be seeing at least one more time in the theater.

Before we dive into the movie, let’s talk a little bit about the “Toy Story” short that accompanied it. I saw the short that was shown alongside “Cars 2″ and, honestly, I wasn’t that impressed. Everything that I that was lacking in that cartoon was back in spades in “Small Fry.” The basic plot of the short is that Buzz gets left behind at a fast food chicken place. Meanwhile, the happy meal version of Buzz tries to pass himself off as the real thing back home with the rest of the toys. In his quest to get home, Buzz finds a support group for abandoned happy meal toys that is lead by Neptuna (voiced by Jane Lynch). Without spoiling the details of the characters in the group, I can tell you that I laughed pretty much straight through the entire scene. That is all I’m going to tell you about the short. You’ll see it, you’ll laugh your butt off, and you’ll be happy it was attached to the movie. Now, on to the main event.

I’ve been staring at the page trying to figure out what to say here. I want to tell you about all the amazing things in the movie, but I want you to have the same enjoyment that I had when I saw it. I guess, the best thing that I can do is keep it short and vague.

muppets-movie-poster-animal-01-411x600.jpgThe movie centers around Gary (Jason Segel) his brother (Walter) and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams). A discovery on a trip to Los Angeles leads the three protagonists to track down Kermit and convince him to get the Muppets back together after a dacade apart. Can the gang get back together to save the Muppet Theater from evil oil man Tex Richman (Chris Cooper)? You’ll have to see the movie to find out!

Was it the perfect Muppet movie? No, but it was pretty great. I laughed more in “The Muppets” than I can remember laughing in a movie in years. Jason Segel created a movie that was a love letter to the Muppets from someone who is a real Muppet fan. At the same time, “The Muppets” is a great entry point for kids who have been deprived of their Muppety awesomeness . There are some jokes that are going to fly over the heads of the little ones, but there isn’t anything inappropriate or unnecessarily crass (In other words, no repeats of the Tin Man Gonzo with nipples from Muppet Wizard of Oz).

Jason Segel was excellent in the film and I can’t imagine anyone else playing the role. Amy Adams was also very good in her role, but she didn’t get the same kind of development as Segel’s character. To be honest, she felt more like a combination of a running musical gag and plot device. Her main role in the film is to move the plot along and force actions in other characters in the film. She’s also there as a counterpoint to Miss Piggy. That said, she did a great job. I just would have liked to have seen her fleshed out a bit more.

Chris Cooper is another great casting choice in the film. He is probably the best Muppet film bad guy since Charles Durning played Doc Hopper in ‘The Muppet Movie’. I’m not sure if I loved his musical number, but he was an awesome character on the whole.. especially when accompanied by Uncle Deadly and Bobo.

One of the things that impressed me was that, despite all the clips that were released, there are still a lot of great surprises waiting for viewers in this movie. I was genuinely surprised by several scenes and delighted by all of it. The movie moves along quickly.

There were times that I was laughing so hard that I teared up and there a couple of times when I was actually a little bit choked up.

I want to tell you a lot more about the movie. I want to tell you about the celebrity cameos (some of which will catch you by surprise), I want to talk to you about the musical numbers and about the big Muppet Show style climax of the film.

There’s been talk of making a new “Fraggle Rock” movie, but converting all the characters to some sort of 3D, CGI abomination like the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. The Muppets proves that you can still create a great viewing experience with great puppeteering and a strong story. I saw Alvin and the Chipmunks. I saw The Smurfs (God help me). “The Muppets” was exponentially more enjoyable. There are a bunch of studio execs out there who think that you can’t make a movie for kids without tons of special effects and 3D and all that other garbage… “The Muppets” proves that this is just not the case.

I even want to talk to you about the major issues that arise when you consider that Jason Segel’s character is brothers with Walter. Does that mean that Muppetism is some sort of birth defect? It boggles the mind.

OK, I’m getting dangerously off track here so I’ll wrap this up. GO SEE THIS MOVIE! I hate going to movie theaters, but I’ll be going back to see this one again. “The Muppets” was everything that I’ve been hoping for over the last couple years and more. The songs are great, the gags are hilarious and the script makes for a truly enjoyable viewing experience.

Disney’s “The Muppets” is now playing in theaters.


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