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Walter and his brother Gary,
Who is dating best friend Mary,
Loved the Muppets growing up,
And Walter is a big fan, very.
 
On vacation in L.A.,
The three decide to gladly pay
A visit to the studio
The Muppets had back in the day.
 
Walter hides within a room,
While rich Tex Richman deals out gloom.
He wants to tear the studio down
To drill for oil very soon.
 
Walter, who is quite agog,
Seeks his hero, Kermit the Frog.
They need to raise ten million bucks
To foil the villain’s monologue.
 
Driving ‘cross the vast U.S.,
They gather friends with eagerness.
They get them all, except Miss Piggy,
Who prevents their full success.
 
The Muppets barely reach TV
On primetime network CDE.
And yet they cannot seem to find
A needed host celebrity.
 
Once Piggy finally arrives,
Tex Richman says the deal deprives
The Muppets of their studio
And all their names to wreck their lives.
 
While Piggy makes a sneak attack
To kidnap for a host Jack Black,
Poor Mary’s feeling overlooked,
So Gary tries to win her back.
 
The telethon begins all right,
But it improves throughout the night,
And, though it seemed impossible
To raise the money, they just might.
 
Richman, blinded by his greed,
Tries to make them not succeed.
Though Walter’s whistling act inspires,
The Muppets don’t get what they need.
 
Though sad, they won’t admit defeat
And are surprised out on the street
To find a crowd of Muppet fans,
Who prove they are not obsolete.
 
One more song can’t help but wow,
They get their studio back somehow,
And Gary asks to marry Mary
Because Walt’s a Muppet now.
___________________
 

Amid the current melee of reboots, from The Amazing Spider-Man to Star Trek, it’s nice to see a franchise that isn’t afraid to look back on its past with nostalgia rather than an impulsive need to outdo what came before. I’m too young to remember the original “Muppet Show”, but the film knows that, casting doubt in the Muppets’ minds whether they’re relevant anymore. While many tell them they are old hat, the Muppets’ Blues Brothers-like quest to get the gang back together, filled withhumor, characterization, and song-and-dance numbers, managed to make them popular once more, in both the movie’s world and the real world.

Jason Segel and Amy Adams (in an innocent part reminiscent of her role in Enchanted) are charming as Gary and Mary, respectively, as is Gary’s Muppet-y brother Walter. Even more charming are the timeless characters that everyone ought to know: Kermit and Miss Piggy, Fozzie and Gonzo, Animal and the Swedish Chef, Beaker and that guy who likes to blow things up. The myriad cameos of famous faces, past and present, from Selena Gomez to Mickey Rooney, are also…well, charming.

The whole movie can be summed up by that one word. Despite the bitterness of Chris Cooper as Tex Richman, who’s given one of the most unexpectedly funny songs, The Muppets has a uniquely sincere earnestness that makes it stand out among all the typically cynical Hollywood fare to become a well-deserved success. Not many movies nowadays have entire towns breaking into a song-and-dance number like something out of The Music Man.

While the less joke-filled slow scenes aid in characterization, I felt that they slowed down the film as a whole, making it seem longer than it was. I much preferred the songs, such as “Life’s a Happy Song” and the Oscar-winning “Man or Muppet,” not to mention the well-utilized rock songs, like Starship’s “We Built This City.” (While good, “Man or Muppet” doesn’t really seem like an Oscar-worthy song to me, though there wasn’t much competition that year.) All in all, if you’re in the mood for a pure, comedic remembrance of the good old days with Kermit and the gang, complete with some fourth-wall-breaking and Jack Black being tortured, The Muppets is right up your alley.

Best line: (Miss Piggy’s receptionist, played by The Devil Wears Prada’s Emily Blunt)She has an opening in early September.”
(Walter) “Early September? But that’s in six months!”
(Fozzie) “That’s nothing. I once waited a whole year for September.”

 

Artistry: 5
Characters/Actors: 7
Entertainment: 7
Visual Effects: 5
Originality: 5
Watchability: 6
Other (slow parts): -2
 
TOTAL: 33 out of 60
 

Next: #278 – Innerspace

© 2014 S. G. Liput