Film Review: THE MUPPETS

Dan Goes To The Movies! (Kate Was There, Too)

Welcome, Faithful Followers! With Kate going toe-to-toe with the flu, I’m, driving the keyboard (huh?) today. With snow falling on Saturday, we thought what better way to spend a snowy Minnesota evening, than at the local Cineplex, right? So with that in mind, we headed out to see the latest Muppet movie.

The Muppets have always held a special place in our hearts and lives. Kate has often said that Kermit The Frog is a personal hero for her. The way he holds onto his moral code, inspires others, and isn’t afraid to chase his dreams. I just like puppet monsters. Go figure. That being the case, our love for the Muppets has cooled in the years following the untimely passing of Jim Henson. The last three films just weren’t the same, and with each passing movie, the quality of the writing really seemed to suffer and decline.

But the buzz surrounding this latest entry into the series seemed to indicate the rust was being removed from Great Muppet Machine. With admitted Muppet fan-boy Jason Segel staring, and even writing the movie, could the glory days be back?

YEP.

With a story focusing on Segel, who plays Gary, and new Muppet “Walter,” this is a story that still has plenty of pigs, frogs, dogs, and weirdos, but now has the heart and soul that made the original Muppet Movie so endearing. Growing up in Smalltown, USA, Gary and Walter are brothers (yep) who are also the best friends either guy could ask for. They are an inseparable duo. But stress starts to show when Gary’s girlfriend Mary, played by Amy Adams, starts to feel that maybe, three is indeed something of a crowd.

Gary and Mary head to LA for their anniversary. Being the world’s biggest Muppet fan, Walter tags along. While site seeing at the Muppet Theatre, we see that time has not been kind to our felt covered friends. The grand old building is condemned, and its residents are scattered far and wide. While hiding in Kermit’s old office, Walter learns of the plot by “Tex Richman,” played by a scene-chewing Chris Cooper, to exploit a clause in Kermit’s old Rich and Famous Contract that would give ownership of the theatre, and the Muppet name, to him.

Our friends manage to convince a now reclusive Kermit to come out of retirement and stage one final show to raise the money to save the theatre. And so, just like the Blues Brothers, Kermit and Company have to get the band back together. Only they have to save the theatre, not the orphanage. But I digress.

And so begins an epic road-trip to gather up all the old friends we love so much. Fozzie is heading a lounge act in Reno, Gonzo is a plumbing magnate, and Piggy is living high on the hog (sorry) in Paris. But the real story is how Walter, now with the reunited Muppets, stops being a Muppet fan-boy, and becomes a full-fledged part of the Muppet family.

And that’s really what the movie, and the Muppets in general, is really about: family. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pig, frog, dog, weirdo, or even a human. Family is about the ones you love. Even if you’re a weirdo.

Dan Malmon