I think there are two types of people in this world: those that “get” The Muppets and those that do not. I am firmly in the former camp, as I grew up watching this beloved show and always found it hilarious. So when I went to see the latest Muppet movie, I was curious to see if the brand of campy Muppet humor would translate to a new generation.
A funny thing happened though. There were no children in the entire movie theater. It was a 6:30 p.m. showing, yet the people who showed up were just like me: nostalgic adults who also longed to see the signature Muppet wackiness returned to the big screen.
About the movie: I was happy that Jason Segel was in charge of the whole Muppet reincarnation, taking on both writing and acting duties. If you know anything about this guy, you know that he is a Muppet fanatic and would do anything to make this movie a success. If you’ve seen him in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” then you’ll also know that he is a talented and creative puppeteer.
Segel manifests his own love for the Muppets through a new Muppet character named Walter. Although Walter is a Muppet, he is also the brother to Segel’s character,Gary. If you were a true Muppet fan, this would not bother you – it can’t be explained, it’s just normal in a world where Muppets exist alongside humans. The humans still take a back seat to the Muppets, however, which I’m glad Segel had the prudence to do.
Walter and Gary grew up watching “The Muppet Show” on TV, and Walter is still a superfan after all of these years, watching old VHS tapes of the show. In the meantime, The Muppets have pretty much dropped into a life of obscurity, and the Muppet Studios are about to be bought out by an evil oil prospector. Of course this can’t happen, so the Muppets need to come together and put on a telethon in order to save the studio. This premise allows us to meet the Muppets once again; it’s a clever way to introduce them to Muppet virgins while still delightfully entertaining us veterans.
The musical numbers are light and cheery, except for one slightly awkward song called “Party for One” sung by Amy Adams (who plays Gary’s girlfriend). Sure, some jokes are silly and leave you groaning, but that is part of the Muppet charm.
Be prepared for lots of celebrity cameos, including some obviously hand-picked just to attract the younger crowd. However, there is still the same style of ageless Muppet humor and silly acts all performed in the “big show”, including the actual reproduction of the opening “Muppet Show” montage, just as it was in the 1980’s (grumpy old men and all).
One complaint: No Pigs in Space?