Despite the fact that The Muppet Show has been off-air for years, Muppet Walter (Linz) remains their biggest fan. As such, his human brother Gary (Segel) and Gary’s fiancee Mary (Adams) decide to take Walter with them on their trip to Hollywood, so that he can visit the famous studio and theatre. However, when Gary discovers that a villainous oil tycoon (Cooper) is planning to sell the land off, he recruits Kermit and old gang to raise funds by putting on a benefit show…
It’s been over a decade since Jim Henson’s beloved creations last appeared on the big screen, but that wasn’t going to deter Jason Segel. Segel (whose breakthrough turn in Nicholas Stoller’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall included puppet musical numbers, let’s not forget), fought to bring Kermit and co back with co-writer Stoller and Flight Of The Conchords veteran James Bobin. And the result? Well, after a worryingly kiddie-ish opening ten minutes before we’re re-introduced to the familiar felt faces, The Muppets settles into a reasonably charming – if somewhat flat – return-from-obscurity yarn.
Though cynics will find the tone too chirpy and upbeat, for the most part the wide-eyed sincerity is balanced well with post-modern meta humour (“May I suggest we save time and pick up the rest of The Muppets using a montage?”) and admirably self-aware admittance of how out of date the gang are (“Are you one of the teenage mutant ninja turtles?” “Why yes I am!”). In truth, there’s little here for non-fans and those who can’t stand musical numbers (although the songs, penned by Conchords’ Bret McKenzie are catchy), apart from the sheer niceness of seeing old favourites like Kermit, Animal and Statler & Waldorf. Additionally, Jason Segel lends maximum Segel-ness and there are a number of lightweight cameo appearances.
Over a decade since Jim Henson’s beloved puppet creations last appeared on the big screen, The Muppets offers a reasonably charming – if somewhat flat – return-from-obscurity yarn.