I have always loved the Muppets. I watched The Muppet Show, Muppet Babies, Sesame Street and more growing up. I don’t know if I can say who is my favorite Muppet because I loved Gonzo and Fozzy both so much that my loyalties usually vacillated between the two. Needless to say, I have been pumped for The Muppets for some time, so keep that in mind when reading my review.
I should start this review where my experience in the theater started: Small Fry. Small Fry is the Toy Story short that played in front of The Muppets. It is a great one-off about a happy-meal version of Buzz Lightyear trying very hard to get played with, and the trouble that causes the Buzz Lightyear we all know and love. I think my favorite part of this was all of the crazy happy-meal toys that they invented. I think my favorite was T-Bone, the steak transformer who fought against the Vegetenarians. Hilarious!
On to The Muppets! Jason Segel got to make his passion project and we should all be thankful for that. He wrote and “starred” in this film. I put quotes around starred because the humans are really very secondary to what happens in The Muppets. Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper only really inhabit the fringe of the story. Sure, they have plot points, but the greater narrative is really about the Muppets trying to find relevance again in this crazy, mixed-up world.
We get to watch as Kermit searches for his long, lost friends. We get to see what each one has done since the old gang broke up, and here is where Segel really got things right. Kermit is a wealthy recluse who doesn’t really see people anymore. Animal is in an anger management compound. Gonzo is the head of a giant plumbing business. Piggy is the editor for plus sized Vogue. Fozzy is headlining a Muppets tribute band in Reno called The Moopets. It all makes perfect sense.
But it all makes perfect Muppet sense as well. When it is going to take a while to do something, the gang decides to do it by montage. When they have a really long way to travel, they decide it would be faster to travel by map, which consists to them cutting to an image of a map and showing the dotted line of their travels. Or the wonderful thought that Gonzo carries around a button for instantly blowing up his whole business so that he can revert to his daredevil ways. It is all absolutely ridiculous, and it is all Muppet.
Of course Kermit and Miss Piggy are star crossed lovers. Of course Miss Piggy will utilize her special brand of getting things done to get the variety show on track. Why wouldn’t the Muppets fix their stage to “We Built This City on Rock and Roll?” It all just works.
The overall plot is that Chris Cooper has bought the Muppet studios and wants to destroy them in order to drill for oil underneath the land they sit on. So the Muppets must put on a variety show in order to raise enough money to buy the studios back. First, Chris Cooper is obviously just loving being an over the top villain. When his rap comes out of nowhere it is both truly evil and entertaining on a level I never knew an old white guy rapping could be.
But again, it is all the Muppets for me. When the variety show starts up and you hear the theme song the smile that came over my face was ear to ear. I will say that it is not all nostalgia as well. There were many children in the theater with us, and my wife pointed out a very young girl who was in the aisle dancing anytime a musical number came on.
The Muppets was exactly what I was hoping it would be. It was self referential. It broke the 4th wall, the laws of physics and my funny bone. I highly recommend it for kids and for the kid in all of us. Check out The Muppets. You will not be disappointed.
Have you seen The Muppets? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.