Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Time To Meet The Muppets, But Not In This Movie.

The lyrics conclude: On the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppet-ational, This is what we call the Muppet Show.  Alas, it wasn't three of the aforementioned adjectives. It did have the Muppets.

For our monthly family outing we took Mario and Little Suzy to see "The Muppets" the day before Thanksgiving. I didn't hate the movie. I had hopes for more than I got. In the sake of full disclosure our December family outing is to see "Chipwrecked". I don't have the same expectations for "Chipwrecked" as I did for "The Muppets".
The Cast:
Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Jack Black, The Muppets
The Plot:
Gary's (Jason Segel) brother, Walter (a Muppet) overhears Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) an evil oil magnate plotting to claim and implode The Muppet Theater for the oil underneath the theater. Walter, Gary and Gary's girlfriend of a decade, Mary (Amy Adams) team to help Kermit reunite the Muppets and foil the oil magnate's plan.
  • Can Gary negotiate his love and dedication for his brother Walter and his love and dedication to his longtime girlfriend Mary?
  • Can Kermit and Miss Piggy either rekindle their relationship which has fallen into disrepair due to decades of inertia  or alternatively put old wounds on hold and reunite with the gang to save the Muppet Theater.
The Great:
  • Chris Cooper gives an outstanding over the top performance as the scenery chewing, embodiment of evil Tex Richman. Cooper goes to the top of the Muppet villain list.
  • Amy Adams channeling Judy Garland as the loving but growing impatient Mary, wondering if her good-hearted schlub of a boyfriend Gary is ever going to figure it out.
  • The writers'/director's/producers take on what passes for entertainment in the form of current reality TV.
As for everything else in the movie, nothing was bad, merely a compilation of requisite components. There was the plethora of celebrity cameos, the road trip, the "show", Miss Piggy's petulance and Kermit's huge heart. All these movie pieces had their moments but the Muppet gestalt was absent.

Jason Segel as writer/producer/star was a large part of the drive to bring the Muppets back to the big screen after a decade+ hiatus. Segel clearly has love and reverence for the Muppets (he even brought back Mahna Mahna) and therein lies my disappointment with "The Muppets". At their core the Muppets are chaotic and irreverent. I found the chaos scenes (where is Sam the Eagle's requisite diatribe at the kidnapping of Jack Black?) in "The Muppets" a bit flat. Jack Black, the king of irreverence, chaos and any combination of both, is under utilized. Sure the reprise of "The Rainbow Connection" tugs at the heart, but is this generation going to get stuck with a Muppet reunion tour and nothing more?

If you're going to get stuck seeing a kids movie, there is a whole lot worse than "The Muppets". Did I mention I'm going to see "Chipwrecked" in December? Still, the Muppets are capable of much more than "The Muppets".

No comments:

Post a Comment