The most lovable troupe in all of the Hollywood land of family movies. Kermit the Frog and the gang get their all-time best movie ever with The Muppets thanks to big daffy human Jason Segel who wrote the script (with Nicholas Stoller) and co-stars. Segel has given himself a deliciously corny love story to boot (as Gary), smitten with the infectiously cheerful Amy Adams (as Mary). New muppet Walter is actually a non-muppet outsider who tags along with brother Gary to Hollywood and gets caught up in resurrecting muppet mania. In their way are Chris Cooper as a crusty tycoon and the dastardly imitators the Moopets. Zesty musical numbers really gets the whole cast tapping, and the audience wants to sing along.
Really, is the best music number “Are you a Man or a Muppet” or a chicken clucking rendition of Cee-Lo’s “Forget You?” That’s not all. “Pictures in my Head” or “Me Party?” How about “Life’s a Happy Song” or “Mahna Mahna?” Let’s put it this way. There’s a song for every demographic. But Kermit is the nicest of cinematic creatures, who has no time for sulkiness and not a mean bone in his body. Of course he’s going to have a song in his heart. And a banjo strapped on his belly.
For the retro plot, the gang has to raise 10 million dollars, and not a dollar short, to save their old movie studio. But the gang has dispersed. Gonzo is off selling toilets. Animal is committed to anger management groups. Miss Piggy is the head of Vogue in Paris. Fozzie Bear trowels out a vaudeville act in Reno. Walter is the cheerleader while Kermit is the glue that gets them all back together.
Dozens of cameos include Jack Black, John Krasinski, Ed Helms, Neil Patrick Harris, Alan Arkin, Emily Blunt, Mila Kunis, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Sarah Silverman, Whoopi Goldberg and, why not, Danny Trejo. My regret: Rashida Jones, as a TV executive who reluctantly needs to fill-in airspace with a Muppet telethon, doesn’t get a musical number of her own.
“The Muppets” is a compendium of funny bits that just want to entertain, basically. It is a happy and jolly time, a movie with a plastered smile on its face. The music numbers bursts with color and glides with motion. And if you’re looking for wit, behold the scenes where they “travel by map.” An animated marker sketches on a map, and a vehicle rises out of the sea at Cannes. Everybody’s enthusiastic here with no self-esteem issues, sans Walter, but that changes after he becomes a full-fledged muppet.
98 Minutes. Rated PG.
GOOFY COMEDY / MINDLESS MOVIE / WEEKEND FAMILY MOVIE
Film Cousins: “The Muppet Movie” (1979); “The Great Muppet Caper” (1981); “The Muppets Take Manhattan” (1984); “Toy Story” (1995).