Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Best of Black Sheep: THE MUPPETS

Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
Directed by James Bobin
Starring Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and Kermit the Frog

Kermit the Frog: Maybe you don't need the whole world to love you. Maybe you just need one person.

The first Muppet movie in over 10 years, simply called THE MUPPETS, was tailor made for people just like me – fans of the show that long for simpler times, when frogs both ran theatres and away from pigs. With the threat of losing their long abandoned Muppet Theatre, the whole gang – joined by Amy Adams, brand new Muppet, Walter, and co-writer (and new personal hero) Jason Segel  – band together to put on one more show to prove to the world, and themselves, that they still have what it takes. At the risk of giving it all away, I can assure you, The Muppets definitely still have it.

In today’s fast paced world of crude humour and low attention spans, The Muppets run the risk of being perceived as no longer relevant. Segel, and co-writer, Nicholas Stoller (director of Segel collaboration, FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL), weave this danger into their plot. The setting is the present and, as we Muppet fans know, there has been very little Muppet presence in the media for some time now. Fans have not forgotten but they have long since moved on. Segel plays Gary, a character that mirrors his real life devotion to The Muppets. Together with his brother, Walter (a Muppet voiced by Peter Linz), they use their deep rooted appreciation for The Muppets to convince them to come out of retirement. It remains unknown as to whether contemporary audiences will still care but the sense of nostalgia that permeates every moment of this film draws fans in and gets the whole audience rooting for the comeback they so truly deserve.

In that sense, it is brilliantly written, modernized without feeling inauthentic. If you were a fan of The Muppets, you will be inundated with warm memories and fuzzy feelings throughout this film. From a strictly critical perspective, there are a few musical moments (written by Bret McKenzie, one half of the Flight of the Conchords duo) that drag, a few plot holes that could have saved their theatre without having to actually put on a show and a few cameos (from Sarah Silverman to Neil Patrick Harris to Feist) that were clearly longer to begin with, but when you’re caught up in this much fun, these kinds of things hardly matter. When it comes down to it, I laughed; I cried; and I wanted to watch it again as soon as it ended. THE MUPPETS is without question the family movie of the year!

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