It’s been twelve years since the Muppets have been featured on the big screen, and with their last adventure (Muppets From Space) resulting in commercial failure, many have questioned whether the characters should be given another shot. I’m pleased to report that the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.”
The Muppets centers around Gary (Jason Segel), a small-town guy who’s been dating Mary (Amy Adams) for nearly ten years, and who lives with his brother Walter, a young man who bears a striking resemblance to a particular group of Jim Henson characters. Walter idolizes the Muppets, and dreams of nothing more than visiting the legendary Muppet Theater in Hollywood.
When Gary and Mary decide to spend their 10-year anniversary in Los Angeles and invite Walter to come along, he can’t believe his good fortune, but upon arrival Walter is dismayed to discover that the Muppet Theater been closed for years, and a scheming tycoon (Chris Cooper) is plotting to demolish the building in order to drill for oil beneath the foundation. With the help of Gary and Mary, Walter embarks on a mission to reunite the original Muppets gang in hopes of staging a telethon to raise enough money to buy back the property.
Segel’s fast-paced, smartly written script wisely deals with the fact that the Muppets have been out of the spotlight for a long time by addressing the issue head-on, and the redemption that Walter seeks for his heroes echoes the same redemption that the film strives for. Just like Walter, this film is out to prove that the Muppets are timeless, and can still appeal to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
There’s probably not another human being alive that loves the Muppets as much as Jason Segel, and this fact is evident in every scene as he fulfills his role with wide-eyed, childlike enthusiasm. Adams is equally perfect as the small-town girl with big dreams, and is given the chance to shine in some of the film’s numerous musical numbers. And I can’t help but mention Cooper, who is obviously having the time of his life playing an exaggerated version of the sort of villainous characters he typically embodies.
The film features plenty of the slapstick action, absurd humor, and celebrity cameos that the series is known for. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great, Fozzy Bear, and the rest of the group are every bit as loveable and endearing as they’ve always been, and there are some suprisingly emotional scenes for a film that only features a handful of human characters.
The essence of The Muppet Show is perfectly captured, with plenty of references and inside jokes that longtime fans will enjoy, but even if you’ve never experienced the Muppets before, there’s something here for everyone. Take your children, your parents, or your best friend, but make sure you get a chance to see The Muppets. You won’t be disappointed.
FINAL SCORE: 10/10