Well the Muppets are back in a new and mainly off balance film. One that will warm the hearts of their fans but will also leave some people scratching their heads. I say this mainly because due to the amount of new characters the Muppets somehow seem to not exactly be the focus. Still with plenty of good laughs and a number of great songs the film does achieve the goal of proving the Muppets are still a much needed member of our popular culture.
We open two brothers, Gary who is human, and Walter who is a Muppet(They don’t explain how this is possible and frankly I don’t want to know). Walter has grown up knowing he was different and always dreamed of going to Los Angeles and teaming up with the famous Muppets. When Gary and his long time girl friend plan to leave “Smalltown” for Los Angeles for their anniversary, they let Walter tag along. Once arriving in L.A. they find that the Muppets have fallen apart. Not only that but the famous studio they once run is being purchased by an evil oil executive named Tex Richman(Chris Cooper) who plans to destroy everything the Muppets once were.
The films first half is frankly perfect, most of the jokes are not over the top or smash in the nose type humor. No a lot of the jokes you’ll find yourself laughing about later. The dance and music numbers never come off as campy or dumb, they seem perfectly placed. The movie essentially makes us understand that the 70’s and 80’s were just better than today, at least pop culture wise. Something happens though half way through and the movie essentially looses steam. I frankly can’t put my finger on it but the film simply lost a lot of it’s energy. It’s still cute and charming but something is just not right.
My main issue with the film is addition of new characters, we focus on them decently enough that the original Muppets seemingly only get moments together. Jason Segel and Amy Adams play the human leads, their relationship is a minor part of the story, that’s the way it should be. Though the human Muppet Walter gets a lot of focus, and frankly he is very interesting. It’s a story we’ve seen before and his character doesn’t bring a lot of comedy either. He screams and runs into things a lot, but mainly he is there to ground the audience, we are living through Walter and sadly he’s just boring. His main issue is not wanting his brother to move on. Problem is the movie is so light hearted that this never feels like a real problem.
In the end the film is worth your time, the first half should have you laughing and smiling a lot. I’m not sure how kids would take it. I’m sure they would love the Muppets, but most of the jokes will go over their heads. There are also a number of cameo’s in the film, most don’t make sense(Sarah Silverman, the guy from The Big Bang Theory) but there are some solid appearances by Jack Black and Neil Patrick Harris. The film though is mainly about friendship and that the culture should return to accepting people and being friendly, instead of overly nasty and cynical. The message is great it’s just somehow the second half of this film just slows down and looses a lot of it’s magic.