I just got home from watching The Muppets, starring Jason Segel, Amy Adams, and the Muppet gang. My reaction?
I think I was a kid a little after the Muppets were super popular, but regardless I grew up with The Muppet Show, Muppet Babies, Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Classic Theater, etc, etc. And I'm a big fan. Gonzo's my favorite. So when I went home for Thanksgiving and my aunt told me to pick a movie I wanted to see, obviously the only mature, adult, "film connoisseur" response was: The Muppets.
I think they've done a really clever thing by having the storyline involve adult Muppet fans track down the gang, who haven't given a performance together in years. I think that's a great way to acknowledge the adult audience without resorting to cheap pop culture references like a lot of other kids films seem to do. These little felt puppets have always been great because they're flawed individuals, and it was touching to see the self doubt about trying to enter showbiz again. Would people still be interested? Can they still perform as well as they used to? After so many years apart, would the team be able to come back together, just like that? Way to mirror reality, movie.
For the most part, I really enjoyed it. The great thing about the Muppets is that, like good friends, you can go years without seeing them, but when you do, it's like no time has passed. After being coaxed back into the performing world by the energetic new Muppet Walter, the gang is in fine form. Can I just say that I love how Animal has been taking Anger Management classes? How priceless is that? And poor Fozzie has been performing at a cheap Reno casino?
The human cast does a great job of selling it, especially Jason Segel, who you can tell is just so psyched that he's actually being allowed to make this movie. I felt that they maybe got a few two many of the musical numbers (if I want to see Amy Adams get her own song, I'll watch Enchanted, ok? Right now I want to see the Muppets), but most of the time it works out well. Because as soon as the Muppets start putting on their show, you forget about everything else, and it's pure, 100% concentrated nostalgia. And when Kermit and Miss Piggy sing Rainbow Connection...well, you get the point.
I loved the cameos, as always. Kudos go out to Neil Patrick Harris ("No, I don't know why I'm not hosting this."), Selena Gomez ("I don't know who you are, my agent just told me to be here."), and Jim Parsons (come on). But every rose has it's thorn...did I really just see Chris Cooper rap? Can that image be deleted from my brain please?
Personally, I feel that if you are a Muppets fan, you won't be let down by this film. If you're trying to turn your spawn into little Muppets fans, go for it. Here's to the gang that always gives us the third most precious gift (after children and ice cream): laughter.