Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Someday You'll Find It

Because of the time sucking scourge of the Christmas season I haven't been to the movies in a while, but as soon as the dreadful event was finally over I took myself to the bijou to see The Muppets. And since this is the latest of all late reviews, you probably know that the Muppets are back, baby, and they are good.

This version has everything you want in a Muppet movie: sly self-knowledge that breaks the puppety proscenium, clever little inside jokes that tickle old fans, humor that only an educated grown-up could love as well as lowbrow, kid-friendly fart jokes (oh, how I've missed you my dear Fozzie Bear), toe-tapping, heart-tugging songs, celebrity cameos, good versus evil, hope, love, togetherness, and redemption.

Yeah, that seems a lot from a pile of felt, but that's what always made the Muppets so special. They made you believe in all that stuff.

It's been a few years since the Muppets were anything but a corporate trademark. I didn't think there was anybody in Hollywood who could re-capture that magic. But then I had never heard of Jason Segal. Shame on me. This guy seems to have brought our heroes back to life almost as a singular act of will and belief. Which is, essentially, the plot of the movie. The Muppets have to get back together, after all these years, believe in themselves again, and put on one more big show or they'll lose everything to the latest silly bad-guy, a rich man who is so aware of his role as the villain he sometimes orders his henchmen to back him up on maniacal laughs.

The story involves Segal, as Gary, and his brother Walter. Walter just happens to be made out of felt and is a huge fan of the Muppets. I think you can see where this is going. Anyway, the gang gets back together, a show is made, there are some original songs, including “Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet,” which includes the best celebrity cameo in all of muppetdom, and that's saying a lot. There are some good old songs, including my favorite, “Rainbow Connection,” done as a duet with Kermit and Piggy. Now I'm not Miss Piggy's biggest fan, but she's handled so well here that I found both the duet and the romance to be genuinely touching (but then I'm something of a sap).

So, bottom line here. If you are a fan of the old Muppet Show and the old Muppet Movie and were touched by the magic then, you really should see this. And take a kid, if you have one to take. They'll like it too.

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