08/02/2012

The Muppets


Every year there are a few films that cause such knicker-wetting hysteria that it seems like no-one is allowed to voice a different opinion without being tagged as a difficult contrarian and/or an arsehole, and none more so than with the first Muppet movie in 12 years. Over the past few months Twitter has gone Muppet-mental by going on and on about the film, demanding they host the Oscars and even asking Miss Piggy for a kiss at the UK press conference. Yep, actual professional journalists asked a pink, felt pig with a man's hand up her arse if they could kiss her. This country really is going to the dogs.

So, with that in mind, I really don't mean to ruin everyone's fun but it must be known that The Muppets is not THE GREATEST FILM EVER!!!!! (SINCE THE ARTIST). What we have here is a perfectly fine celebration of all things Muppet written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller with music by the hairier of the Flight of the Conchords guys and nothing more. The plot is simple: Walter is the world's biggest Muppet fan and tags along with his human brother Gary (Segel), and his frustrated girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams, seemingly straight out of the maternity ward. Not a crack about her weight, more an observation that she looks like a new mother, i.e. knackered.) to Hollywood to visit the Muppet museum. Upon finding out that the eponymous museum is a dump that's due to be shut down thanks to an evil oil tycoon, Walter decides to reunite the gang for one last show and save the theatre. And yes, it is as simple as it sounds, but what makes The Muppets entertaining and mostly successful is it's tight, self-deprecating script and the fact that everyone involved is clearly up for it. Even Chris Cooper, whose solo number had my jaw scraping the filthy floor at the Empire Leicester Square.


What makes it fall short of being an out-and-out classic is its insistence on including every song Bret MacKenzie wrote even if it had no business making the final cut, a plethora of celeb cameos who are only there so they can say they've been in a Muppet movie and tirelessly self-referential moments that would've been more subtle if "The Muppets are so great! Why did they leave us?!" was flashed across the screen throughout its slightly long running time. Oh, and one last thing, a Cars 2 poster makes its way on camera more than a few times. Bravo, Disney.

Those really are small niggles in the long run because it is consistently funny and highly enjoyable film that would've benefited greatly from someone who isn't a Muppets fan trimming that fat around the edges. But if you have to choose between this and Cars 2, it really is no contest.