Kermit’s getting the band back together for one more gig in this sentimental Muppet-filled extravaganza.
The story opens with Walter (a Muppet) and Gary (just about a man – Jason Segel) who are unlikely brothers, a factor that is never properly explained I might add. Walter gives us the spiel of never fitting in, then he discovers The Muppets and becomes their number 1 fan. When Gary heads off to L.A. with his girlfriend of ten years (Amy Adams) he surprises Walter with a third ticket and with the ensuing road trip the film finally kicks into action.
The Muppet studio has basically become a shack and left to fall into disrepair just like the stuffed ping-pong eyed creatures themselves. Statler and Waldorf provide the plot twist whereby Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) is planning to tear down the theatre and drill for oil. The film then pretty much turns into The Blues Brothers with Kermit taking on the role of Jake and Elwood as he gets the gang back together for one last show. [Interesting side note – Frank Oz was the original voice for Miss Piggy (now done by Eric Jacobson) and had a cameo role in The Blues Brothers as Jake’s parole officer.]
The film is full of brilliant jokes. From terrible one liners to physical comedy and self-referencing adult humour for the parents and those of us who remember the various incarnations of the TV show. The musical numbers are all very good, most notably Man or a Muppet and Me Party which is no doubt due to one half of the writing team of Flight of the Conchords, Brett McKenzie.
The main question though is: are the Muppets still relevant in today’s world? Sesame Street seems to have the market cornered on kids puppets but they rarely venture into the world of film leaving that to the Muppets.
While I enjoyed the film immensely I wondered if children would get enough from the antics of the Muppets as 90% of the jokes would be over their heads. With all kid films we must have a message, here it’s that “everyone is special and has their own unique talent”. This is laid on pretty thick and might have worked better if stated a little more subtly.
USA / James Bobin / Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller / Starring: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, Zach Galifianakis / 103mins / Comedy / Release: 23 November 2011 (US/Canada), 10 February 2012 (UK/Irl)