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November 27, 2011
Review - " The Muppets "  -  (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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The Muppets
Directed by: James Bobin
Starring: Kermit, Jason Segel, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy,
Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Gonzo, Rolph, Rashida Jones,
Dr Teeh, Alan Arkin, Bill Cobbs, Scooter, Zach
Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Flyod Pepper, Rizzo, Animal,
Statler & Waldorf

On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world's biggest
Muppet fan, and his friends Gary and Mary from
Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex
Richman to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil
recently discovered beneath the Muppets' former
stomping grounds. To stage The Greatest Muppet
Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save
the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the
Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie
now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the
Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue
Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger
management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing
magnate. (Walt Disney Pictures)

The Muppets (not to be confused with The Muppet Movie)
is crowd-pleasing. It’s designed for people who already
know they love the Muppets, and I’m not sure it will reach
people who aren’t already familiar with the characters. It
preaches to the choir - often in an overly saccharin way -
and although you may laugh yourself silly, the incessant
pulling on your heart strings does become somewhat

The basic premise of the film - one that works brilliantly -
is that Jason Segel’s character Gary has a puppet for a
brother. And this puppet, Walter, is obsessed with the
Muppets beyond what some might consider healthy. Why is this the case? Is it because he’s a Muppet himself? Stay tuned
to find out. And Gary has a girlfriend, Mary, played by Amy Adams in full-on Enchanted mode. And for their anniversary, he’s
taking both Mary and Walter to Los Angeles to see the world-famous Muppet Studios. Yet when they arrive, the studios are
no longer the beloved paradise they expected, and instead are about to be taken over by an evil developer unless the
Muppets can raise ten million dollars in two weeks. But where are the Muppets, and how will they raise the money?

From there, the movie has your basic “get the gang back together to perform one big show” plot that is definitely not new to
The Muppets. Since the movie lacks a fourth wall, there’s plenty of commentary on the hackneyed nature of the plot, lots of
little musical callbacks to earlier films, and plenty of visual gags. Don’t blink or you’ll miss them.

Of course there are plenty of celebrity cameos, and while I expected to see lots of A-listers from The Muppet Show days, we’
re mostly dealing with sitcom stars and friends of the filmmakers. They’re mostly “Hey, that’s nice” cameos as opposed to
“Holy crap!” cameos. Revealing all the cameos in the movie feels like ruining the surprise. It’s best to go in cold.

Allow me to Muppet-nerd out for a bit and talk about the performances of the Muppets themselves. Steve Whitmire has the
biggest shoes to fill as Kermit the Frog, and he totally knocks it out of the pond here. He’s really got Kermit’s personality
down after years of playing the rich and famous frog. And Dave Goelz, still doing Gonzo after all these years, remains pitch
perfect. The disappointment to me is Miss Piggy and Fozzie the Bear, both played by Eric Jacobson. Where is Frank Oz?
Why is he “too cool” to do his classic Muppet voices? It took Steve Whitmire years to get Kermit right, so I imagine it will take
a similar amount of time for Mr. Jacobson to do the same for Fozzie and Piggy. It feels odd to say this, but Kermit and Piggy
really didn’t have much screen chemistry.

While the movie is often laugh-out-loud funny, it does wander into sappy territory a little bit too often. Early in the movie,
Kermit sings a song about how much he misses the old Muppet days, and I felt a little choked up, but then there’s more and
more of the same reminders about how much you miss the Muppets. “Hey everyone — don’t you remember how much you
LOVED the Muppets! You still do! You do love the Muppets! You DO! LOVE! Muppets! Love! Don’t forget how much you
LOVE them!” And this part feels a bit forced, like it’s trying to deal with the actual universe in which the Muppets have been
sold to Disney, and they are a
somewhat forgotten property,
and this is Disney trying to
turn them into a cash cow
again. I get it, but when the
violins swell up again, and
we’re supposed to be touched
again, it’s a little much.

Of course, this all may affect
you, and you may weep
constantly. When you watch
a near-perfect representation
of what an old episode of
'The Muppet Show' was
(including celebrity guest),
you may have to fight back
tears. There’s no doubt that if
you grew up with the Muppets
and love them like old
childhood friends, this is the
movie for you.