More than 30 years after reaching their height of popularity, Jim Henson's Muppets are back and are as lovable as ever in the new film, The Muppets. This newest film manages to be nostalgic, yet feel completely fresh and modern at the same time. Written by self-professed Muppets enthusiast Jason Segal (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, TV's How I Met Your Mother) and Nicholas Stoller (Yes Man, Gulliver's Travels), The Muppets is a fun film for viewers of all ages.
Walter and Gary (played by Segal, who stars in the film, as well) are brothers and best friends. In some ways, they really couldn't be any more alike. But in others, they are completely different; mainly, Gary is a man made of flesh and blood and Walter is made of felt. Along with Gary's girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams of Enchanted and Sunshine Cleaning), the two brothers excitedly tour the Muppets Studio in Los Angeles after traveling from their home in Smalltown, USA. It is while touring the studio that Walter, Gary, and Mary learn of the plan of an evil oil-tycoon, Tex Richman (Chris Cooper of American Beauty and The Bourne Identity), to take over the studio, demolish it, and drill for oil.
Without hesitation, the trio finds Walter's all-time idol, Kermit the Frog, and fills him in on Richman's devastating plan. Kermit then manages to travel the globe, reaching out to all of his old Muppet friends to bring the gang back together again for one more show-a telethon-in an attempt to raise enough money to save the studio. One by one, they each agree. It is delightful to see Fozzie, Gonzo, Scooter, Miss Piggy, Animal, and all the others and to hear about what each has been up to during his or her hiatus. Fozzie, for one, is excited to be back to work as a Muppet after trying his best to make do in Reno, Nevada, with a cover band at a casino. Animal is reluctant to get back to his old lifestyle (mainly going nuts on the drums) after spending time learning how to deal with his outbursts. Miss Piggy is the hardest to convince given that she and her beloved Kermie have gone their separate ways and she has made a new, successful life for herself in Paris at a couture fashion magazine.
Out of all of the network executives whom Kermit talks to, only one is willing to give the telethon a shot on live TV. CDE Executive Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man; TV's Parks and Recreation) eventually agrees to air the telethon when another of her shows gets cancelled at the last minute. Even then, she agrees reluctantly, telling Kermit and the others that they are simply no longer relevant in the entertainment world today.
The Muppets is more than just an average film. It is a musical, filled with stick-in-your-head songs that kids who are getting their very first glimpse of these characters will enjoy just as much as adults who fondly remember past Muppet movies and of course, TV's once-popular The Muppet Show. Some songs are brand new, but it is the classics that will undoubtedly most delight moviegoers. "The Rainbow Connection" and "Mahna Mahna" are just two of the many reasons to smile that the Muppets are back.
The Muppets is filled with a plethora of fun, star-filled cameos. Jack Black, Whoopi Goldberg, and Neil Patrick Harris are just some of the many stars who make appearances in the film as themselves, in addition to the great cast of credited actors.
No moviegoer can go wrong with The Muppets. It is fun and upbeat, as well as self-aware of the fact that the Muppets enjoyed the peak of their success a long time ago. It's innocent, yet clever at the same time. This is one comeback that is a sure victory, perhaps so much so that it will etch out a new peak of success for itself.
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