The Muppets Review
This review was originally published in The Cambridge Student on February 16th 2012 on page 22
It’s finally time, once again, to play the music and light the lights; in which case, the instruments probably need to be tuned, and the bulbs replaced. Muppets From Space in 1999 was the last time the cinematic curtain was raised on the Muppets, a film which prompted Roger Ebert to claim: “I just don’t seem
to care much anymore.”
To its credit, The Muppets tackles the potential staleness of the characters head-on. Jason Segel plays Gary, brother to a Muppet named Walter. Upon finding a dilapidated and abandoned Muppet Theatre (on the point of demolition by oil baron Tex Richman), the brothers and Gary’s girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), decide to track down Kermit the frog. Spurred into action, Kermit assembles the long-forgotten gang to perform a fundraiser and save the theatre. Fox News has accused The Muppets of communist undertones, but the laugh count suggests any Marxist influence comes from the school of Groucho rather than Karl. There are frequent knockabout laughs, as well as the traditional Muppets charm. Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller have captured the spirit of the Muppets excellently in their script. The musical numbers, such as Oscar-nominated ‘Man or Muppet’, from Bret McKenzie also hit the right notes throughout.
The film does have problems – sadly for Segel, he hasn’t given himself or Adams great roles. The film stumbles when focusing on the childish and alarmingly doe-eyed couple, becoming something of an irritation as the film goes on. Even so, it is still a welcome return. With none of the smugness that has hindered many recent films aimed at the parent/child crossover audience, The Muppets should put a smile on the face of even the most cynical.