Jim Henson’s famous puppets return in this family comedy that never takes itself too seriously. In the first theatrical Muppet film in 12 years, the crew reassembles to save their Muppet theater from a greedy oil baron aptly named Tex Richman, played by Chris Cooper The all-star human cast is led by comedian Jason Segel (TV’s How I Met Your Mother) who plays Gary. Segel also co-wrote the screenplay, which works well except the Muppet “reunion” aspects that take a little too much screen time.
Peter Linz voices Walter, Gary’s brother…well, Muppet brother who knew he did not really fit in when he stopped growing at a young age. Gary and his 10 year dating relationship with Mary, well played by Amy Adams, also factors into the story as the three take a trip to see the Muppet museum and accidentally discover a unique situation where the Muppets lose the rights unless they buy the theater for a hefty price.
The solution is a telethon to raise the money. Television executive Veronica Martin gives them a shot, but they have many challenges ahead including finding a celebrity host. Once the Muppets enter into the story, Kermit, voiced by Steve Whitmire, and Miss Piggy, voiced by Eric Jacobson, obviously become the focal point, as Fozzie, Gonzo, and several other familiar characters.
The great music includes the Oscar-winning song “Man or Muppet” and the classic “Rainbow Connection.” Most of the musical numbers are relatively short and blend into the story well. The ending teaches great morals and cameo roles include Alan Arkin (who actually was on the original The Muppet Show TV show), Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda films), Emily Blunt (reprising her The Devil Wears Prada role), Bill Cobbs (The Bodyguard), Whoopi Goldberg, and comedian Zack Galifianakis. Watch the ending credits for more celebrities singing “Mahna Mahna” with their Muppet co-stars. This home video version also includes entertaining and varied interactive antics when the film is paused. Recommended (*** out of four stars) and rated PG for some mild rude humor.
Quality special features on the blu-ray version include:
- The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History – We Think)
- Disney Intermission
- Scratching the Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s ‘The Muppets’
- Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song
- A Little Screen Test on the way to the Read Through
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler