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Patrick Wymore/Disney Enterprises

The Muppets

Movies | After an 11-year hiatus, Jim Henson's lovable characters return to the big screen

Issue: "2011 Daniel of the Year," Dec. 17, 2011

It's time to meet the Muppets-again. After an 11-year hiatus, Jim Henson's lovable characters return to the big screen in a film that is more of a stroll down memory lane than it is a reintroduction of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the gang.

Longtime Muppets fan Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother) both co-wrote and starred in this loving, nostalgic treatment. Gary (Segal) and his muppet brother Walter (Peter Linz) grow up as huge fans of the late '70s-early '80s Muppet show, so when Gary decides to take his longtime girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to Los Angeles, he invites Walter to join them so Walter can fulfill his dream of visiting the Muppet theater.

When they arrive, they find the theater a dilapidated wreck that is being purchased by oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), who ostensibly wants to turn it into a Muppet museum but secretly plans to raze the theater and drill for oil. Walter overhears Richman's plans and convinces Kermit the Frog (Steve Whitmire) to reassemble the Muppets to put on a telethon that will raise the $10 million they need to retain the theater before Richman officially takes it over.

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This relatively straightforward reunion tale (rated PG for some mild rude humor) is peppered with corny yet amusing original song-and-dance numbers that create a reasonably diverting cinematic experience for children and adults. None of the new songs, though, quite measure up to Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy's reprisal of "Rainbow Connection" from the original 1979 film.

Between the corn, the nostalgia, and the Muppets' belief that airing their telethon with barely two days' notice will entice enough people to participate, the film may have been more aptly titled Muppet Film of Dreams. If enough wallets open up for this charmingly silly tale, expect to see more Muppet films in the future.

Michael Leaser
Michael Leaser

Michael is editor of FilmGrace and an associate of The Clapham Group.

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