Serving as both a wondrous stroll down your childhood and a fantastic introduction to anyone deprived of the pleasure earlier, The Muppets is a warmly inspired nostalgia kick that will delight both longtime fans and endear the franchise to a new generation.
While visiting Los Angeles, Gary (Jason Segel), his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams, American Hustle) and brother, Walter (Peter Linz) do what any self-respecting Muppets fan would do — visit The Muppets Studio.
But since The Muppets’ hiatus, the studio has seen better days and now a wealthy tycoon, Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), is planning to demolish it to drill for oil unless The Muppets can raise enough money to buy back their former home.
Only problem is that the group has gone their separate ways and its up to Walter and friends to reunite them and restore the luster to the once mighty Muppets brand.
The smart plot mirrors the challenge for screenwriters Segel (I Love You Man) and Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek) in embracing everything that made the Muppets so endearing without the seemingly standard mocking tone in reflecting on a previously popular property that’s past its heyday.
Fortunately, they and Director James Bobin are up to the task and don’t have to work too hard to convince us how amazing the Muppets are on the big screen.
Paying homage to template of the 1979 original, The Muppet Movie, Walter, Gary and Mary start their quest by reaching out to Kermit the Frog, Fozzie and Gonzo.
Bret McKenzie’s Oscar winning Man or Muppet is well-deserved, but other musical numbers Me Party, Life’s a Happy Song and Cooper’s hilariously bizarre Let’s Talk About Me are also lively and fun.
The biggest knock on the film is that The Muppets have to fight for screen time with Walter and his human pals’ subplots.
It makes sense from the perspective of Walter, Gary and Mary helping to reintroduce the Muppets, but some of your favorites like Dr. Teeth, Dr. Bunsen and Floyd don’t get as much screen time as a result. But hey, that’s what sequels are for, right?
And it’s hard to be too upset watching Segel in a role he seemed destined for every since his odd puppet show finale in Forgetting Sarah Marshall while the charming Adams makes this singing and dancing role look as effortless and charming as all of her other performances.
In keeping with the proud tradition of any Muppet film, it’s packed with random celebrity cameos with Jack Black having the most memorable appearance. Arguably the film’s most amazing accomplishment is featuring Black in a role where he is consistently funny, something that hasn’t been the case in years.
This is a property where the filmmakers completely get what makes it work and they proceed to create an endearingly charming movie that will leave you smiling from start to bombastic finish. The Muppets proves it’s time to get things started on a new fantastic era in this enduring franchise.