Watching ‘The Muppets’ I smiled so hard I think I broke my mouth. That pretty much sums up the experience of a film that is a pure joy to experience and will capture the hearts of everyone. If it were a board game it would be for ages zero and up.
Gary (Jason Segel) and his best felt-friend Walter (Peter Linz) grew up together idolising the Muppets on television. Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) take Walter on a holiday to California to visit the world famous Muppet Studios. Unfortunately, the Muppets aren’t the happy family they used to be, and an evil oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) has plans to take advantage of their misfortune.
Director James Bobin brings the colourful world of ‘The Muppets’ to life and blasts open the door to your imagination and lets it run wild. Bobin made a name for himself directing episodes of the excellent television series ‘Flight of the Conchords’ and his creative flair as a director is on show in ‘The Muppets’ and best showcased during the films musical numbers. Bobin moves the film at a swift pace and despite the big lashes of humour throughout, the film has a lot of heart that will sneak up on you and possibly reduce the biggest bad bearded biker to tears.
The music is outstanding thanks to the musical supervision of Bret McKenzie who is one half of ‘The Flight of the Conchords’. One of the films highlights is the main theme ‘life’s a happy song’ which you’ll be humming for days after, and don’t be surprised if a bride and groom do a song and dance number to it at the next wedding you attend (hint hint lovers).
Segel and Adams make great human leads but it’s clear that the Muppets are the real stars of the film and its great seeing them back together. The film has a ‘Blues Brothers’ vibe to it of getting the band back together and it’s fun spotting your favourite characters, and they’re all there for hardcore fans. Cooper makes a great bad guy and there’s something fantastic about seeing a serious Academy Award winner do something so far outside his comfort zone that he might need a map to get back. The film is loaded with cameos from several performers and it’s a delight to see who shows up. I won’t spoil any for you but try and go in as cold as possible for maximum payoff.
‘The Muppets’ works so well because the screenplay was written by Segel who championed bringing them back to the big screen and can be crowned as the world’s biggest fan as a result. Segel worked with co-writer Nicolas Stoller to make sure ‘The Muppets’ could remain relevant after being missing for so long, and the film makes fun of that fact without getting too preachy. There is a sweet message that is weaved throughout the film which is where most of the emotion comes from. ‘The Muppets’ is very funny and there so many memorable moments. It puts most mainstream Hollywood comedies to shame, especially because it’s not reliant on cheap gags and it even pokes fun at the overreliance on toilet humour.
I can’t say enough good things about ‘The Muppets’ and it warrants multiple viewings. I am currently considering raising my children on this film. If you don’t come out of ‘The Muppets’ feeling complete joy, you might want to check with your parents that they didn’t find you in a crashed spaceship in a cornfield. One of the must see films of the year, an absolute delight.
‘The Muppets’ is released 12 January 2012
The Popcorn Junkie