MOVIE REVIEW: The Muppets film critic Paul Daza gives us five reasons to watch <em>The Muppets</em>

Miss Piggy and Kermit reunite.


( The Muppets isn't as good as the muppet movies of decades past, it's the best muppet ever made. Funny, moving, entertaining, and enthralling, The Muppets is 100 minutes of celebrational, muppet-ational bliss.


Watch the trailer here.


The film begins in Smalltown, USA, where we are introduced to Walter (a new Muppet character), his human brother Gary (Jason Segel), and Gary's girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams). A lifelong fan of The Muppet Show, Walter is ecstatic when Gary invites him to Los Angeles for a vacation, where Gary plans to ask Mary to marry him. The Muppet fanatic that he is, all Walter wants to do in L.A. is visit the  Muppet Studios, where Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and the rest of the gang used to tape their TV show. At the site, Walter is saddened to see the theater now crumbling and decaying, the Muppets all but forgotten. But when he overhears an evil oil baron's scheme to destroy the Muppet studio so he can drill for the oil underneath it, Walter asks Gary and Mary to help him reunite the Muppets and put on a show to raise $10 million to save the studio. Can they succeed, considering that the Muppets are now scattered to the four winds and that the evil oil baron Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) has the money and henchmen to foil Walter at every turn?



Jason Segel and his (muppet) friend, Gary



Here are five compelling reasons to watch The Muppets in the next few days:


  1. At the rate it's being clobbered at the box-office by The Hunger Games, it's unlikely that The Muppets will still be in cinema houses beyond March 29, when another behemoth, Wrath of the Titans, opens. The Muppets is a wonderful, wonderful movie that should be seen in the big screen.
  2. An animated Pixar short called "Small Fry" starring the Toy Story gang plays before The Muppets as a special added attraction. It's about a happy meal Buzz Lightyear display toy that wants to be played with, which takes the real Buzz's place in Bonnie's room when the opportunity presents itself. "Small Fry" is a flawless comedy concoction, just like The Muppets. As Toy Story shorts go, "Small Fry" is even funnier than "Hawaiian Vacation," the added attraction that played with Cars 2.
  3. The superb production numbers. The Muppets has a handful of song and dance sequences guaranteed to either plant a smile on your face or put tears in your eyes. Two examples of the former are the simple but exuberant "Life is a Happy Song" that bookends the film, and Oscar winner Chris Cooper's surprise rap number (!). The songs that are liable to move you to tears are the two performed by Kermit The Frog, "Pictures in My Head" and "The Rainbow Connection." Both dramatic  and funny is the reflective "Man or Muppet" sequence. (FYI, "Man or Muppet" won the Academy Award for best original song at last month's Oscars.)
  4. The trademark Muppet jokes. So abundant are the puns, sight gags, and "this is only a movie" humor that there wasn't even room in the film for the best gag in the trailer, namely, the shot where human and muppet characters are squeezed into a car as the ridiculously catchy 'Mah Na Mah Na' plays on the radio. Among the comic gems are the montage where Walter and Kermit are trying to get the gang together again. Here, we also learn how to travel "by map," and see the ribtickling reason why the reunion with Rolf the piano-playing dog didn't merit a shot in the montage. Also hilarious are the many jokes about the crazy, cheesy Eighties, epitomized by the use of Starship's chart-topper, "We Built This City."
  5. The messages. In between the delightful production numbers, the nonstop gags, and the inevitable face-off between the Muppets and the bad guys are poignant, invaluable insights about the value of friends and family, being true to yourself, facing your fears, and discovering what you're talented at. They're life lessons that are worth learning whether you're eight or eighty.
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These five great things about The Muppets earn the movie 5 out of 5 spots.

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