The Muppets,
directed by James Bobin
(Walt Disney, 2011)

They're back! Twenty-one years after Jim Henson's death, I hadn't expected to see another Muppet movie, but I was there on opening day with my heart in my throat, not quite sure what to expect.

Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) have been dating for 10 years and it's time they celebrated their anniversary. Gary's delighted to make Mary's romantic dream of visiting Hollywood come true. There's just one small hitch: Gary can't leave his brother, Walter the Muppet fan (and puppet) behind.

To appease Walter (voiced by Peter Linz), their first stop is The Muppet Theater. That's where they learn that the place has long since been abandoned. Walter overhears billionaire Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) and Muppet hecklers Statler and Waldorf talking and learns that if $10 million can't be raised within the week, the theater will be his. Tex is going to tear the place down and drill for the oil he's found beneath.

Walter and Gary lead the quest to find the Muppets and save the theater. Mary is being a trooper, but she's less enthusiastic. Two storylines run through the film. Will the Muppets be able to get back together and get a telethon together to save the theater? And will Gary and Mary's relationship survive the trip?

Yes, the voices are a bit different. Steve Whitmire does an admirable job with Kermit, who was formerly voiced by Jim Henson. He and Dave Goetz (Gonzo, Zoot, et al) are Muppeteers from the past who've worked with Henson. The only spot where I really noticed a difference was Fozzie the Bear; voiced by Eric Jacobson, he doesn't quite have the same sound as he used to, but he's still the funny, lovable bear I remember.

The film is helped along by many cameo appearances by celebs, including Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory), Sarah Silverman, Emily Blunt, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez and Neil Patrick Harris -- just to name a few.

The Muppets aren't quite the same without Jim Henson or Frank Oz, but I believe this new crew can give the next generation some great family-oriented films. Those of us who loved the Muppets from years back, will also want to take more than one trip down Memory Lane with them -- perhaps even in Fart Shoes like Fozzie the Bear.

review by
Becky Kyle

14 January 2012

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