Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: The Muppets (2011)

Director: James Bobin
Writers: Jim Henson (characters), Jason Segel


Jason Segel ... Gary
Amy Adams ... Mary
Chris Cooper ... Tex Richman
Rashida Jones ... Veronica Martin
Steve Whitmire ... Kermit / Beaker / Statler / Rizzo / Link Hogthrob / The Newsman (voice)
Eric Jacobson ... Miss Piggy / Fozzie Bear / Animal / Sam Eagle / Marvin Suggs (voice)
Dave Goelz ... Gonzo / Dr. Bunsen Honeydew / Zoot / Beauregard / Waldorf / Kermit Moopet (voice)
Bill Barretta ... Swedish Chef / Rowlf / Dr. Teeth / Pepe the Prawn / Bobo / Fozzie Moopet (voice)
David Rudman ... Scooter / Janice / Miss Poogy (voice)
Matt Vogel ... Sgt. Floyd Pepper / Camilla / Sweetums / 80's Robot / Lew Zealand / Uncle Deadly / Roowlf / Crazy Harry (voice)
Peter Linz ... Walter (voice)
Alan Arkin ... Tour Guide
Bill Cobbs ... Grandfather
Zach Galifianakis ... Hobo Joe

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 and Mary have been dating for ten 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, 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 and Muppet hecklers Statler and Waldorf talking and learns that if ten million dollars 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 a being a trooper, but she's less enthusiastic. Two story lines 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 are Muppeteers from the past who've worked with Henson. The only spot where I really noticed a difference was Fozzie the Bear, 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.

While 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.

Rebecca Kyle, November 2011

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