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Review: The Muppets

— by ADAM DALE —

Jim Henson’s creation of the Muppets in the mid 1950s sparked an epidemic the world over of fans, young and old alike. Even though Jim has passed away and some of the original voice-actors retired, nothing could stop the return of “The Muppets” to a new generation.

Co-written by and also starring Jason Segel, with the help of director James Bobin and Walt Disney Pictures, the Muppets are once again hitting the big screen in an all new adventure featuring two brothers: Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter (voiced by Peter Linz).

Walter, who has never fit in, finds his happiness when he discovers “The Muppet Show” on TV. He becomes the biggest fan of the Muppets and has dreamt of meeting them his entire life. When Gary decides to take Mary (Amy Adams), his girlfriend of 10 years, on the trip to Hollywood she has always dreamt of, Gary surprises Walter and takes him along as well to visit the old Muppet Studios.

When they arrive, the antiquated building is run down and about to be sold to industrialist and tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), who secretly plans on demolishing it to drill for oil he has discovered beneath the buildings. When Walter accidentally overhears these plans, he freaks out at the thought and this starts them off on an adventure to find the reclusive Kermit the Frog and tell him what’s happening. Kermit informs them the Muppets haven’t been in touch for years and are scattered across the globe. They decide to try to bring the gang back together and perform a benefit to raise the $10 million dollars it would take to buy back the studios before its too late. Can this group reunite and show the world that they are still relevant enough t raise the money and save their beloved Muppet Studios from destruction?

Bringing this cherished franchise back is a big task — especially knowing how highly people think of these characters — and when I think of family entertainment, Jason Segel isn’t the first name that comes to mind. But now I am convinced and impressed. Segel has taken his brand of humor and made it more family appropriate. Plus, he pulls off an amazing performance — along the always-adorable and multi-talented Amy Adams. With just the right amount of jokes, musical numbers and traditional fourth wall-breaking, “The Muppets” is a movie that would make Jim Henson proud.

All of your favorite Muppets are back, but the main focus of the film seems to rest on the newest Muppet, Walter, and his quest to feel like he belongs. The same few get a decent amount of screen time — Kermit, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and Beaker — but with such a large cast-of-characters like this, it’s impossible to feature each one individually or equally. I did wish that Miss Piggy and Animal were used a bit sooner in the film than they were, but that’s just me.

An abundance of celebrity cameos can also be seen in the film, most never even trying to draw attention, but I could hear laughter as people realized who the waitress or the secretary was. Since the joy comes with the surprise, I won’t spoil them for you, but I will say there is a wide range of actors of all ages and genres and you won’t be disappointed.

With classic lines, endearing songs and an abundance of laughter, “The Muppets” is fun for the whole family. With worthy values to teach, humor that is never mean spirited and a villain who isn’t too sinister, you leave the theater with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.

Catch “The Muppets” in theaters now.

. . .

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