The Muppets Review
The Muppets (the comeback film for the "former" pop culture icons) does a lot of things right. It is fun, touching and has many awesome moments. However, the greatest thing it does is make Jason Segel seem like the perfect person to resurrect The Muppets franchise. Segel revealed his love for the Muppets in the first screenplay he wrote, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. In that film Segel incorporated puppets that he actually asked Jim Henson's company to make into the plot. What resulted was one of the best scenes in the film ("Dracula's Lament").
Now three years later, Jason Segel stars and writes again but for the actual Muppets this time. Segel's script (which he co-wrote with constant collaborator Nicholas Stoller) is nothing special. In fact it is the weakest part of the film as it tries to cram in too much material and never picks which storyline in the film to really focus on. Segel's performance as Gary, the human protagonist, is also far from his best as he is just asked to look happy and sing instead of providing emotional depth. Despite this, Segel's enthusiasm for The Muppets is all over the film. Even the biggest grouch in the world will be smiling throughout this film and that is brought to you by this one man's conviction for the subjects of this film.
Segel's biggest accomplishment in the film is his choice of director. James Bobin seems like as big of a Muppets expert as Segel as he creates the perfect atmosphere for a film from this franchise. He is able to perfectly mix lavish dance numbers, amusing jokes, and moments of emotions while still giving almost everyone their moment in the spotlight (and this is a large cast of humans and muppets). Just look at the telethon that takes place during the third act where the muppets storyline and human storyline mix wonderfully. The telethon also is a major reason why both new viewers and longtime viewers of the muppets will both love it as it features a mix of classic Muppets skits and entirely new content (speaking of the new content, the original songs in this film are spectacular with "Life's A Happy Song" being of particular note).
Speaking of the cast, the actors do a great job. Amy Adams is perfectly casted even if she doesn't get much to do. Chris Cooper is Chris Cooper (meaning he is good as always). Rashida Jones does well with a very one-note role. The numerous cameos (including Jack Black, Mickey Rooney and Emily Blunt) are all fun.
The Muppets are of course great and are used effectively especially Kermit and Miss Piggy. My only complaint about them is that the new muppet introduced in this film, Walter, is not very effective. He is not interesting and that especially becomes apparent when he needs to use a talent of his late in the film. I will say though that he is exceptionally performed by Peter Linz.
All in all, I think The Muppets was the most fun I had at a theater all year long.
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