Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Muppets

As children, brothers Gary and Walter were inseparable. Gary included Walter in everything. Baseball, the scouts, but Walter never felt he belonged in the world around him. Until the night the brothers and best friends discovered “The Muppet Show.” For the first time Walter saw people (and animals) who bore a striking resemblance to him. Yes, Walter is a Muppet too.
More than a decade later Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter (performed by Peter Linz) still share a room at their home in Smalltown. Gary is taking his girlfriend of ten years, Mary (Amy Adams), to Los Angeles to celebrate their anniversary. Coming along will be Walter who hopes to see the Muppet studio and meet all of his heroes. What he discovers though is that the studio is rundown and about to be bought by greedy oil baron Tex Richman (Chris Cooper). Walter enlists the help of Gary and Mary to try to convince Kermit and the others to reunite after years apart to put on a show and save the studio. This is all the plot that this movie requires.
Written by Segel with Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) and directed by James Bobin (“Flight of the Conchords”), this is a film brimming with innocent fun and unapologetic silliness. It’s clear that all involved fully understand what always made the Muppets work and why. No one got the bright idea to try to make the Muppets edgy or include an avalanche of “Shrek”-style double entendres. This is a world where characters not only break into song, they can get places faster by “traveling by map,” and no mistake is too big that it can’t be fixed by a simple apology and some flowers. As the opening song (“Life’s a Happy Song”) suggests, you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face. This song and the others written by Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords strike exactly the right tone.
Not only do the script, direction and music get everything right, the performances of Segel and Adams are simply perfect. Has there ever been an actress more suited to the Muppet world than Amy Adams? As for the Muppets themselves, despite the absence of Jim Henson or Frank Oz, the performances are wonderful. Really the only weak point in the entire film is Cooper, an actor I normally love. I understand he’s the villain and has a different mentality than any other character in the film but he never seems quite at home acting with Muppets.
“The Muppets” is every bit as magical as you’d hoped. It’s so delightful that it makes you wish that it were physically possible to hug a movie. It’s that loveable. 9/10.

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