The Muppets! This glorious trademark was born on the television screen in the year of our Lord 1976 of one Jim Henson, and, to date, it has no less than 9 movies and 31 TV specials under its belt. Their latest movie, creatively titled The Muppets, is a treat combining fantastic celebrity cameos, terrible puns, and the breaking of the fourth wall (among other things) all into one hilarious film.
The flick brings back all of the old cast members and manages to make them sound perfect despite not having all of the same voice actors from the past films and TV specials. It manages to capture the best parts of all of the old films too: the drama between Kermit and Miss Piggy and the frenetic action of the whole crew as they try to work together to get something done. It’s simply amazing and absolutely hilarious. Part of the premise is that the group split up when their run as a TV show ended, so the protagonists have to get them back together in order to execute plans on a McGuffin. It’s a very standard plot. What’s not standard is seeing things like Animal in a celebrity anger management program, or Gonzo as the CEO of a massively successful plumbing supplier (called Gonzo’s Royal Flush, of all things). Everything about the movie is a laugh riot. They even manage to make fun of the act of singing and dancing in a song and dance number, which is both deliciously meta and a hilarious action.
Speaking of song and dance, the songs were amazing. Many were 80s classics, some were new, all were amazing. I loved it the whole way through, and I am a person who is actively biased against musicals and musical numbers. If that is not telling of this film’s overall quality, then I don’t know what is.
Jason Segel was a powerhouse in this flick. He wrote it with Nicholas Stoller and acted in it as well, and he was, frankly, brilliant. His character did a bit of developing here and there, which is unimportant, but he also managed to play his role in a Muppet-based movie in a relatively serious and well done way. His acting job was definitely nothing to be ashamed about.
The only thing that bothered me about the movie was the deus ex machina present in it. I mean sure, suspension of disbelief and all that, it’s a Muppets movie after all. However, as something of a raconteur and as a lover of story-telling in general, the sheer volume of deus ex machina-based problem solving was shameful. The story is laced with it in all corners, and any story that must be propped up by the gods (and does not actively involve one or more deities), is a bad story.
In conclusion, go see this film. Overall, it’s a good movie, and The Muppets are a brand that I think is worth supporting. They managed not to make a mess of my childhood memories, which is more than almost anyone else can say at this stage in the entertainment industry.