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Review: The Muppets

December 6, 2011

I went to the movies last saturday, which means that in a first for this site, I’m going to review a movie that’s still in theaters. Yes, the Muppets are back in theaters for the first time since 1999.

We start with Walter, a previously unseen muppet, and Gary, his brother, which I guess makes being made of felt a medical condition all of a sudden. Walter grew up idolizing the muppets, seeing that someone like himself ultimately can make something of themselves. Jump forward a few years. Gary is going to go on a trip to Los Angeles with his girlfriend of ten years, Mary. This would be a romantic gesture if it weren’t for the fact that Gary has also invited Walter along so he can tour the Muppet Studios.

After finally making it to LA, they find the Muppet Studios in sorry shape. Everything is run down, the buildings are covered in cobwebs and dead leaves, and this includes Kermit’s office. While the rest of the tour group continues on, Walter stays behind in the office, hiding under a table when our main villain, oil magnate Tex Richman comes in with Statler and Waldorf. The two old men are planning to sell the Muppet Theater to Richman, but there’s a plot device clause in the contract stating that if the Muppets can raise ten million dollars, they can buy the theater back. After Statler and Waldorf leave, Walter learns that Richman plans to tear down the theater to get at the sweet, delicious oil underneath.

Walter tells Gary and Mary about Richman’s plan, and they set off in search of Kermit, who realizes that the only way to get the money together is to put on another show. Unfortunately, he hasn’t seen the old gang in years. And so begins a new quest, this one to reunite the Muppets. Fozzie is doing shows in Reno as part of  the group called the Moopets. They aren’t particularly respectful of him, so he joins up. Gonzo has become a plumbing parts magnate, but he still yearns for the life of a stuntman. Animal is in a celebrity anger management program with his sponsor Jack Black. The rest of the team is picked up in a montage.

This is really the first time I’ve had to avoid a spoiler in a review, so bear with me here. First, the big question is how is it. I really enjoyed this movie, but if you’re going in expecting something light-hearted and jokey, you’re in for a surprise. The movie starts out on a surprisingly down note. And the ending up until the last minute was looking to be very bittersweet. And if it hadn’t been for Richman’s head injury, it would have been bittersweet. The only part of the movie I really found weird was Richman’s incredibly white rap number. All in all, I recommend it. The story is a lot more complex than I was expecting, and there are a fair number of serious moments that help flesh out the movie.

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