Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
Anyone who grew up in the 70s or 80s probably watched a healthy amount of The Muppet Show. If they didn’t, they had incomplete childhoods and deserve some sort of a refund from their parents. The show spawned a number of movies and TV specials, but for the past decade or so not much had come out of Muppet nation. Thankfully, in 2011, The Muppets has arrived to bring about a Muppet revival.
The Muppets, written by Jason Segel (of How I Met Your Mother and Freaks and Geeks fame) and Nicholas Stoller (who directed Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek), realizes the franchise hasn’t been on people’s minds for a while and uses that as a main plot point. The Muppets are all involved in other projects and Hollywood has forgotten about them. Thankfully, Segel’s character of Gary, and his Muppet brother, Walter, have not. Without revealing too much of the plot, Walter finds out some very important information which becomes a reason for The Muppets to come together and get themselves back on top. The rest of the movie revolves around attempting to make that idea happen.
The movie is exactly what a Muppet movie should be - it’s filled with jokes aimed directly at the people who grew up on the show that will fly over kids’ heads, great musical numbers, some really fun guest appearances, just enough aimed at the kids to keep them thoroughly entertained, and a metric ton of heart. Seriously, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the theater by the time the credits started to roll.
Rashida Jones deserves a special mention as she plays a television executive that can only be described as a much less curse filled version of Ari Gold. Blunt, and always scrolling through her Blackberry, she is the epitome of the Hollywood exec. She is also the perfect antithesis to Segel and Amy Adams’ characters’ small town, wide eyed, innocence. Unlike the character of Tex Richman, played by Chris Cooper, she’s not evil, she’s just incredibly jaded. Oh, and Jack Black is perfect. I can’t say anything more about him, though, without giving away some major jokes.
Without Jim Henson around anymore I think the only way The Muppets could have worked so perfectly is by having the generation the grew up on it, and fully understood and loved its characters, bring them back to life. Segel and Stoller did a masterful job here. These really are The Muppets we grew up on, right down to every last personality trait. The incorporation of a couple classic Muppets songs was the icing on the cake as it led to parents and kids singing along in the theater (hey, some kids are being raised correctly!).
Bottom line, if you don’t love this movie we can’t be friends.