by Ryan Hill
“The Muppets” is a franchise reboot that left a lot of doubt as to whether it would be successful. There hasn’t been a Muppet film worth seeing since the ’80s, but if this movie could live up to its marketing campaign – hilarious spoof trailers of films like “Green Lantern” and “The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo,” and tongue-in-cheek posters lampooning the new “Twilight” movie – it would be a sure hit.
Instead, “The Muppets” succeeds beyond any reasonable expectations with what isn’t only the best family film of the year, but one of the best films of the year outright.
Crafted with love and respect for the Muppet franchise by screenwriters Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller and director James Bobin, “The Muppets” stars Segel as Gary, who takes his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) and his Muppet brother Walter from their home in Smalltown, USA, to Los Angeles for a celebration of Gary and Mary’s 10th anniversary.
While taking a tour of the now run-down Muppet Studio, Walter discovers that Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), an evil oil tycoon, wants to buy the studio and the Muppet Theater to destroy them and mine the oil that lies beneath. The trio hits the road to convince Kermit and the rest of the gang, who have all gone their separate ways, to put on a telethon to raise the $10 million needed to save the studio and theater. The only problem is nobody remembers the Muppets anymore, leaving the odds stacked against them.
Segel was the perfect choice to spearhead this movie. He wrote the hilarious “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” which was directed by his co-writer Stoller and included a hilarious Dracula musical made up entirely of puppets. He may have been the only person in Hollywood who could pull off such a successful Muppets movie which, like the other Muppet films, sports tons of hilarious cameos and songs to sing along to, including a few classics.
“The Muppets” not only introduces the gang to a new generation, but its infectious fun also awakens the inner child of anyone who grew up watching the show, movies or the “Muppet Babies” cartoon. It’s literally the perfect family film. Even the most hardened cynic would have difficulty not breaking a smile watching “The Muppets.” It’s a crowd pleaser filled with joy and heart that it will leave most anyone singing “Mahna Mahna” as they leave the theater.
Grade: 3 1/2 out of 4
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild rude humor
Cast: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures