Geek For E!

Review in the Round: “The Muppets”

Ever see a movie with a friend? Of course you have. Share your thoughts and see if you can come to a collective agreement on what you saw, how it flowed and how good it was? Probably every night right. We at Geek For E call that a ‘Review In The Round’ and this week it’s “The Muppets” with Rock & Alex.


Alex: Rock, here we are reviewing a movie that both of us have talked about for a while….”The Muppets”. Since I first learned that Jason Segel (TV’s “How I Met Your Mother”) got permission from the Henson family to write the script, I knew that this would be a good thing for us Muppet fans.  His work with other movies such as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Get Him to the Greek” show that Jason knows a thing or two about comedy (even if GHttG came up a bit short compared to FSM).  So here were are in 2011 and the Muppets are back on the big screen for families to enjoy this Holiday Season. And I’m going to start with the bang….I LOVED IT!! Jason Segel managed to bring back the nostalgia of my youth with characters I’ve grown up watching and usher them into a new generation while keeping everything fresh and not re-hashing or ret-conning with an origin story. Plain and simple….they’re putting the band back together and not insulting any age group to do it.
Rock: I couldn’t agree more Alex.  The music, the satire, the family fun and Muppet madness was on full display here.  After Seeing Segel’s puppet skills in ‘FSM’ you got the sense that he had a hankering to whip some Muppet magic, and he executed extremely well (I’m A Muppet of a Man!).  Even the plot of this one was in line with Muppet fodder.  A diehard fan (Walter the new Muppet)  works to bring the old Muppet Show back together in hopes of saving the old studio from evil oil baron  Tex Richman (Chris Cooper  from American Beauty).   My thoughts exactly…oil under Muppet Studios?  Hilarious.   What I really enjoyed most of all was the re-realization of Muppets  and characters I had long since forgotten – Hobo Joe (really funny surprise cameo by Zach Galifiankis), Pigs In Space and even those funny scampering mischievous mice.  Of course my all time favorite will always be lab assistant Beaker.  The ulttmate‘ take one for the team’ Muppet!

Alex: Rock, I have to see this movie again to make sure that I caught all the cameo appearances that were there from human and Muppet – each one added to the overall fun that this movie was delivering. Keep an eye out for the Foo Fighter’s Dave Grohl in a very brief but funny scene involving Fozzie Bear. I enjoyed seeing old friends such as Beauregard and Lew, and the big Muppet from the first movie…Big Jack! The plot was typical Muppet mayhem the way Segel clearly defined the ‘bad guy’ (Maniacal laugh….maniacal laugh!) as well as bringing the group back together. Rowlf’s entrance was the best return of a character that I’ve ever seen in a movie.  You mentioned Walter the new Muppet but we can’t forget that Jason Segel plays Gary and Amy Adams plays Mary – the two human leads of the film. What did you think of these two and the characters they played as they interacted with the plot?

Rock: That’s a tricky one for me because I’m torn between simple Muppet parody plot and believability in Jason Segel and Amy Adams as a happy-go-lucky couple from small town experiencing a bump in their ten year relationship while helping the Muppets out.   Segel’s ‘Gary’ was just a bit too happy with life even for a Muppet movie.  His blind oblivion to his relationship situation, tainted by an oddly co-dependent relationship with his brother, it never gave Segel a chance to be more than just a living Muppet.  For me, just a bit over the top.  As for ‘Mary’ played by Amy Adams…it’s tough to say anything negative about such a vibrant and vivid redhead as she.  We know she can sing, as evidenced by her last Disney effort ‘Enchanted.’  Her dramatic range has been field tested over the past few years with films like 2008’s ‘Doubt’ and 2010’s ‘The Fighter.’  A turn as an affection starved but supportive small town girlfriend is far from  a stretch for her, but as always I submitted to her range of emotions – her eyes just seem to make you care whether she’s happy or sad.  Chris Cooper for me had the best chance to break out of his ‘hard nose’ typecast roles.  He got to be the ‘prick of the day’ but at the same time make fun of himself and he even got a dance number .  I’ll remember him most for his spoken maniacal laugh for years to come.   The cameos were great all around with just the right blend of star-power as not to go over the top.

I think audiences will love this film.  My only issue is, where is the marketing?  Even in the Disney stores in the area there is no ‘Muppets’ display and the few stuffed dolls they have, are buried in the backs of the stores.  I asked why – and was told they’re not ‘pushing it yet.’  Well – what are they waiting for?  There’s a brand new generation of kids who I think will embrace the Muppets – do I have it all wrong?

Alex: Actually you’re right with the comment about the ‘brand new generation of kids’ because when the movie ended  there were a whole bunch of kids and their parents ALL SINGING the most iconic Muppet song ever… Mah Nà Mah Nà (or Mahna Mahna) as they were exiting the theatre. So there is a wave of new Muppet fans out there and Disney might be dropping the ball on the marketing but having this movie come out over the long Thanksgiving Day weekend is a smart move.

I liked the characters of Gary and Mary and thought they were the glue that kept things in-check between the humans and the Muppets. If the story was just Kermit and the gang running around without that human interaction I’m not sure if I would have liked the movie as much. I always enjoyed the  Muppets breaking of the 4th wall in knowing that they are in the real world and in a movie. Having the humans involved helped keep the Muppets grounded in reality and not put them out there in a silly way.

Final Thoughts – Overall this is a movie the whole family will love. With a PG rating and a run time of 98 minutes there is no excuse to skip over seeing “The Muppets”.

4 out of 5 stars

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