The Muppets (2011)

November 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Amy Adams and the Muppets in "The Muppets"

Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller

Directed by James Bobin

Starring Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones and Kermit

Sometimes films transcend genre, judgment and age and can truly appeal to a mass audience. The Muppets is that kind of film. The Muppets will touch those of us old enough to remember their television heyday and will enthrall those of us young enough for the film to be their first exposure to Jim Henson’s creations.

Jason Segel, star of How I Met Your Mother and co-writer of the new Muppet movie has tapped into the old and new of comedy, finding tongue and cheek ways to wink at the adult audiences without ever forgetting that this film is for kids.

Jason Segel’s Gary is a normal well to do small town guy who happens to be brothers with a Muppet named Walter, who worships the ground Kermit the Frog walks on, despite the fact that the Muppets have long since gone off the air and out of the cultural radar. Walter is enchanted with the Muppets and when Gary tells him he’s taking his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to Los Angeles on their tenth anniversary, Walter insists he tag along to see the old Muppet studios.

The old Muppet studios have fallen into disarray, open to shoddy tours for nominal upkeep costs. and an evil oil baron named Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans to purchase the property and dig for oil on it unless the Muppets, who disbanded years ago, can come back together and raise ten million dollars in order to restore and re-open the Muppet studio.

With Gary and Mary’s help, Walter makes it his mission to round up the old Muppet gang and find a way to save their beloved studio. I won’t spoil the journey they take to the conclusion of this mission, because it’s a treasure to behold, as each surprise, cameo and gag, none of which this film is in short supply of, is unfolded.

Segel has crafted a loving ode to child films and movie musicals of yesteryear, giving every Muppet their proper due and creating indelible new human characters along the way. Chris Cooper steals the film as the evil Tex Richman, with some impressively ego-free comedy. Of the humans he’s the most impressive, both selling his roll and being the most cartoonish at the same time. His version of an evil laugh is sure to be the number one quoted line from the movies this winter.

The old school charm of the Muppets abounds throughout a film that acknowledges the passage of time and changes in pop culture taste while reminding us why the Muppets were so great to begin with.

A truly wondrous, heartfelt melding of modern and classic comedic sensibilities in a family friendly setting, The Muppets seems have magic about it, as it will suck in any and all viewers to their utmost delight.

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