Manah manah (doot doo, dee doo doo)…
Just what the world needs — another Muppet movie! Whether or not we asked for it, Jason Segel and writing partner Nick Stoller have given us “The Muppets.” Did we need it? We can’t and won’t complain because it’s harmless fun, and then some.
Segel plays Gary, the brother of Walter – who’s a Muppet. In true Muppet fashion they never explain how Gary, a human, and Walter, a Muppet, could be brothers. At a young age, Walter discovers he’s different than the other kids, yet Gary never leaves his side, including Walter in all of his activities. These two love each other as only human/Muppet brothers can.
As adults, Walter and Gary still share a room and sleep in twin beds. In case you forgot or didn’t know, Jason Segel is at least 6’4? or 6’5? so, as intended, seeing him rise from a twin bed across from his Muppet brother is a funny visual.
Gary has a surprise for Walter – he’s taking his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to Los Angeles for their tenth anniversary, and he bought a ticket for Walter so he can visit Muppet Studios. A thrilled Walter hopes Kermit will be there but Gary does his best to curb Watler’s enthusiasm by assuring him the studio is only used for tours. To which Walter responds, “Yeah, I think that’s just an Internet rumor, like there’s a country called Turkey.”
Sure enough, when they get to the studio, they find a disappointing, dilapidated mess – but this is where the Walter receives his call to action. After sneaking into Kermit’s office, he hears an evil oil baron, played by Chris Cooper, discuss his plans to tear down the studio and dig for oil. Walter has to find Kermit and let him know so can save Muppet Studios!
Gary and Walter find Kermit living in a cavernous mansion he once shared with that legendary ham, Miss Piggy. In one of the movie’s best sequences, Walter, Gary and Mary convince Kermit to round up the gang and save the studio. In the process we’re treated to what may be for some a tear-inducing song, titled “Pictures in My Head.” We also meet “80's Robot,” Kermit’s right-hand man and limo driver. 80's Robot is also a highlight but you’ll just have to see it for yourself.
Segel and Stoller garnish the script for “The Muppets” with nostalgic Muppet moments fans will love and little kids will probably like, but probably won’t enjoy as much if the movie is their introduction to the Muppets in general. The musical numbers that work are fantastic – sometimes uplifting, funny and moving. The musical numbers that don’t work weigh down this peppy production, but not enough to ruin it.
Really, though, only one question needs to be answered: is this the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational Muppet movie ever made? The answer: sure!
Three-and-a-half out of five stars.