Director: James Bobin
Cast: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones and the Muppets
Plot: The Muppets Theatre is under threat of being closed down, so the Muppets have to raise 10 million dollars to save the studio…
There is something so sweet and simple about this movie that makes it so enjoyable. The premise is so simple it would have been ridiculed had it been used anywhere else. An evil oil baron, played wickedly by Chris Cooper, wants to destroy the Muppets studio, meaning that the Muppets need to put on a show to renew their contract. However, seeing as the Muppets haven’t been around in a while, Kermit and new addition to the gang, Walter, have to round up the gang for a comeback show. Yes, this is little more than a reunion movie, but in reality, that is all that is ever needed here.
Jason Segel is the real reason that the Muppets are back in action. He is the fanboy of the show here and the moment he reached the height of his career, where he could put together a movie of this magnitude, he turned to Disney and asked: what happened to the Muppets? They agreed to let Segel get together the show (a little easier than the movie makes it out to be), and this movie was born. Segel, who also writes it, knows the exact tone, mood and humour to use that makes the perfect blend of Muppet-mania that we have secretly been craving for so long now.
This is the kind of movie that adults will buy for their kids, but secretly be loving at the same time. The writers throw in lots of old references (including a 80s robot), for the old fans to nerd-gasm over. There will be a little squeal of delight when your favourite Muppet grabs a bit of screen-time (mine’s Rowlf the dog: my lifestyle has been mostly modelled on him). And even the childish humour won’t be as cringe-worthy to the adults, as say, a Pixar movie would be. Despite the insanely simple plot, this is a smart movie.
It also doesn’t fall under the same pothole that other recent comedies have fallen under. The Simpsons Movie and the Inbetweeners should have been the best things to hit the cinema in their respective years, but the premises just failed to be stretched in a movie-length storyline. Both comedies work best in a short half hour running time. The Muppets movie never loses steam however and just ploughs ahead, always seeming refreshing. Whenever the movie threatens to be slowing down, the writers just throw in a celebrity cameo or an old Muppet face. It is impossible to turn off this movie, when it gets to full speed.
The adult cast also are having a laugh here. Jason Segel is in his element, bringing all of the loveable cretin sides out of his more adult performances and toning them down to a family movie level. It is impossible to frown when Segel’s cheesy grin is plastered on his face and as the film kicks off, and we are still unsure if this is going to work or not, it is Segel’s sheer energy that keeps us in the frame of mind to give the movie a fair chance. Amy Adams and Rashida Jones are also fun to watch. Adams portrays the kind of girl that is keeping a brave face on things, even when she isn’t as insanely cheerful as she makes herself out to be. Any other actress would have made the character irritating, but Adams really keeps you sympathetic towards her character, which is hard to do when you are trying to get the audience to hate Segel, even if it’s just slightly. Even Chris Cooper seems to enjoy himself, which is rare, because he always seems to hate the characters he is playing.
Then there are the songs. They are marvellous, the perfect finishing touch to an already brilliant movie. They are catchy, upbeat and for some reason, you know all the words after an initial listen (something lacking from movies that tried the same thing, like Hairspray). I have found myself drunkenly-singing ‘I’ve Got Everything That I Need’ many nights, even though I haven’t watched the film for months. They stay with you and it is impossible not to be grinning your face off when the cheerful ones kick in.
But the moment that I realised this was more than just a good film was until later. Sure, I liked it, but it was a simple family film, right? However, I have watched this film three times now and the fun hasn’t been diluted in the slightest. In fact, if someone suggested we watched this film tonight, I would be on-board with that decision right away. It truly is one of the greatest family films in recent years.
Final verdict: This film just proves impossible to dislike. It’s simple, fun and brings back some of the most loved children’s characters to the big screen.
Tonight, the premiere of my first lead role will be screening in Kings Theatre in Portsmouth. If you want to come and still don’t have a ticket, the price is four pounds on the door. If you cannot, hopefully the DVD will be circling around shortly (there’s still a few more film festivals to go to), so I might be able to link it up here.
Wish me luck, Luke ‘Mother Father Gentleman’ Abbott