I thoroughly recommend starting your day with a feel-good film this good. It’s not just for kids, as the gang of raucous, excitable, fully-grown adults beside us (unaccompanied by minors and laughing the loudest in the screen) proved. It’s not just for adults either-the entire audience was totally sucked in. It’s the best kind of nostalgia- as a kid, sure, it’s entertaining and colourful and silly (and educational!), but as an adult, you can clap yourself on the back for having had such good taste in your early years. Marvel at the great job Jim Henson and Co. did all those years ago, putting hard work and loving care, in to the show.
The story goes that Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams), from ‘Smalltown,USA’ are celebrating their tenth anniversary together with a trip to LA, but also with a third wheel, Gary’s brother, Walter. When young Walter discovers the Muppet Show on TV, he instantly becomes their biggest fan. Gary, being a good brother and perhaps a better friend, arranges for them all to take The Muppets studio tour.
The trio find the studio in a sorry state. It’s been bought by billionaire Tex Richman, hilariously played by Chris Cooper, who’s planning to dig for oil rather than refurbish. Walter, with the help of Gary and Mary, takes it upon himself to reunite ‘The Muppets’ in a bid to save the studio. In times when viewing standards are at an all time low (the self-explanatory “Punch Teacher” is the hottest thing on TV) it’s very comforting to know that some people really do care and continue to make intelligent, heartfelt and meaningful children’s entertainment. The film’s real lesson, though, is that we should recognise when it’s time to grow up. This doesn’t mean buying a house or a saloon car but more so fitting properly in your own skin, to bravely become who you want and need to be. The big question posed by Mary -“Are you a man or a Muppet?” – leads to Gary acknowledging he has been more of a ‘Muppet’ than a man and Walter discovers the man within himself.
Amy Adams is a hoot as Mary, really hamming up the song and dance numbers with dramatic irony. Jason Segel is likeable enough and very earnest. Look out for cameos by some very well-known faces like Jack Black, Selena Gomez and Neil Patrick Harris to name but a few, but of course the real stars are the Muppets themselves. They’ve all aged very well, I must say. Go for the drama and the history between one of cinema’s greatest star-crossed couples, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy (nobody flounces like Piggy), death-defying stunts by Gonzo and to see Animal rock out. The formula has only improved with age, and now as adults we are in on all the jokes. Two thumbs up for a very well-written and well-made piece of cinema, self-aware and referential, retaining all of its original charm and appeal. Nostalgia aside, it’s a heart-warming and joyful film that’ll have even the cynics among you hoping for a flash mob around the next corner.
Life’s just better when everything’s a song and dance.