If you are a child of the seventies or eighties, The Muppets need no introduction. Whether you loved the TV series that ran from 1976 to 1981, or the films that began with The Muppet Movie in 1979, no doubt just the phrase “Mahna-mahna (do do de do do)” will bring a nostalgic tear to your eye. So, if you remember with a smile Gonzo’s flying cannon escapades, the show that always went on even when things went wrong, the romance between Kermit and Miss Piggy, and the culinary disasters of the Swedish Chef, this movie is for you.
With laughs and musical numbers, silliness and fun, it’s for kids, too, but at its heart The Muppets is a movie for everyone that loved the quirky puppets more than three decades ago (and have the Fozzie Bear pyjama case to prove it). Co-written by actor (and Muppet fan) Jason Segel – probably best known for his more ‘adult’ full-frontal appearance in Forgetting Sarah Marshall – it’s the first Muppet cinema release for more than a decade (the last was 1999’s Muppets From Space) and stars Segal as Gary, a young man whose brother Walter (voiced by Peter Linz and looking rather like a muppet) is the world’s biggest muppet fan.
Together with Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Adams), the brothers travel to Hollywood – Gary and Mary to celebrate their anniversary, Walter to visit the famous Muppet Studios. Unfortunately when they get there they discover the studios are abandoned and the Muppet Theater is about to be demolished by oil businessman Tex Richman (Cooper). Can these three country bumpkins reunite all the muppets like Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Animal and Scooter, and put on a show that will raise enough money to save the theatre?
Packed with cameos to amuse adults, from Alan Arkin as the downbeat studio tour guide to Zach Galifianakis as Hobo Joe (kids will probably only recognise Selena Gomez and possibly Jack Black), this does have moments that will have kids in stitches (Fozzie’s ‘fart shoes’, for starters) as Segel and his co-writer Nicholas Stoller have wisely held back on the plot to allow the muppets do what they do best (be daft and a bit crazy). Parents, meanwhile, will laugh and smile and even wipe away a tear (try and stay dry-eyed during musical number ‘Man Or Muppet’) as our childhood friends play the music and light the lights one more time.
Is The Muppets suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
None. However some young children have been upset by the sequence ‘Man Or Muppet’, in which we see Jason Segel’s muppet reflection, and Walter’s human one.