Tuesday, December 20, 2011


“The MUPPETS” (Jason Segel, Amy Adams & Chris Cooper as humans / Kermit, Fozzie, Piggy & Gonzo as muppets)

My appreciation for the Muppets came from 2 sources; when the original Saturday Night Live debuted – the Muppets were a part of the cast. After that I became a fan of their weekly ‘variety’ show. I never watched Sesame Street or was much of a fan of their movies – the TV show seemed to be their best avenue; a half hour of silliness highlighted by a (sometimes) big name star acting like a kid whilst surrounded by puppets of all shapes and sizes. My favorites were Statler & Waldorf – the grumpy old men in the balcony that made sarcastic remarks on how poorly the show was going.
When I heard this movie was based on the Muppets trying to save the theatre that housed their old TV show by putting on a ‘Muppet Show Marathon’, I was interested enough to buy a ticket – plus the lovely and talented Amy Adams added to my anticipation of being entertained by a batch of cloth puppets.
The usual conversation I have with my wife at the end of EVERY movie we see goes like this; (Me) “So what did you think?” (Her) (A) “It was okay.” (B) “It was fine.” (C) “I liked it.” At the conclusion of the Muppets her response was, “I didn’t care for it.”
Wow, not even a drab ‘okay’ for Kermit & Co.
The surprising thing is I agreed with her, I didn’t care for it either – although it was sweet and some of the cameos were humorous, Alan Arkin, Emily Blunt (as Miss Piggy’s secretary) and Zack Galifiniakis particularly – but they only made me smirk. I laughed out loud once – at Amy Adams’ line, “This is going to be a really short movie.”
The problem clearly was in the writing (Sorry, Jason) I was hoping for a grown-up Muppets movie aimed at us ‘older’ fans that grew up with them. Instead this film is aimed at pre-teens and toddlers. It has no edge, no adult content, no pizzaz. It was rather boring.
Early in the film, Kermit hears about the fate of the old Muppet theatre and sets about rounding up the other Muppets – his first stop is Vegas where he finds Fozzie Bear opening for an act called The Moopets (3 raggedy Muppet look-alikes and David Grohl in a half-Muppet get up) When the movie ended I found myself wondering why they didn’t make a Moopet movie instead. In fact, I yearned for an R-Rated Muppet movie because this one was soooo milquetoast, it wasn’t like the Muppets I remembered at all. (Not that the Muppets were ever R-Rated, but THAT would have been a fun idea – this seemed like a huge step in the wrong direction to me)
The story was kind of dumb; Jason Segel as Gary grows up with his brother Walter who for some unknown reason is a Muppet. Walter worships Kermit and the gang for obvious reasons and joins his brother and his fiancée Mary (Amy) on a trip to Hollywood.
Chris Cooper as billionaire Tex Richman plans to purchase the old Muppet theatre and tear it down. Walter overhears this plan and makes it his mission to find Kermit to let him know. And the journey to bring back the old gang for one final extrava-gonzo is on.
The best part about Walter is when he’s turned into a human during a dream sequence and the human form he takes on is that of Jim Parsons (Sheldon of “The Bing Bang Theory”) The worst part about Walter is that he’s uninteresting and not the least bit funny. When Walter’s ‘talent’ is finally revealed I had to roll my eyes and wonder how anyone would have thought THAT was a good way to endear Walter to the audience – I found him to be even more boring after sitting thru his less-than-entertaining addition to the Big Show.
Nostalgia-wise, the Muppets worked for a short while, but for the long run, this would have been a better ½ hour TV special – or written by someone who would give the sock puppets more bite.

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