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The Muppets is fun for all ages

Mary Claire O'Donnell | Monday, November 28, 2011

 

The Muppets haven’t been in theaters for 12 years, but they haven’t missed a step. Kermit, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and everyone else brought the magic and laughter of the beloved puppets to life again this Thanksgiving season. The gang introduces some new characters in their new film, making for some all-around family fun.

The movie begins with Walter (voice of Peter Linz), a puppet from Smalltown, USA. He and his brother, Gary (Jason Segel), are best friends, but during his teenage years, Walter goes through a tough time dealing with the differences between him and his human brother and friends. Walter discovers the Muppets during this difficult period, and he becomes a huge fan.

As adults, Walter and Gary still live in Smalltown, and Walter still idolizes the Muppets. The two are inseparable, and Walter even accompanies Gary and his girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), to Los Angeles for their 10th anniversary. While there, Walter insists on visiting the Muppet Theater, only to find it in ruin. He sneaks into Kermit the Frog’s office, where he overhears the sale of the theater to oil magnate Tex Richman (Chris Cooper). Richman secretly plans to demolish it to drill the oil he found beneath it.

And so, Walter hatches a plan to find the Muppets, reunite them and raise the $10 million needed to keep the theater safe. His plan is not easy. The Muppets have spread out across the globe, from Reno to Paris, anger management to plumbing businesses. In addition to the daunting troubles at hand, they must convince a TV station to host their telethon and find a celebrity host. Their task list is long, but, in true Muppet fashion, they attack it with laughter and song.

Overall, the movie is adorable and sure to bring laughs. The song-and-dance scenes are especially endearing. There’s nothing as inspiring as watching the Muppets give their theater a much-needed facelift while rocking out to “We Built This City” to motivate a long-overdue cleaning of your own room.

An original song from the movie, “Life ‘s a Happy Song,” is one of the highlights of the film. Walter and Gary perform the song at the beginning and end of the movie, delighting in the joys of having each other and the ones they love to weather life’s hardships. It’s moving, cutesy and sure to be stuck in your head for day.

Segel is great as Gary. He already looks like a Muppet, making him perfect for the role, but his wide-eyed innocence also endears him to viewers as he struggles with his identity in the film. His humor isn’t dumbed down for the children in the audience and appeals to all ages. Adams, his romantic partner, also holds onto the innocence of Smalltown, USA without sacrificing her acting talent.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Rashida Jones, who plays Veronica Martin, the tough TV executive who finally gives the Muppets a slot for their telethon. She tries to be extremely stern and demanding, but it comes off flat — a disappointing performance from this actress.

But Jones aside, the movie is cute and funny. While most of the movie centers on the Muppets, there are memorable performances and cameos from big names like Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris and Selena Gomez. Most of the jokes are definitely directed toward young children, but there’s enough higher humor to keep people above the age of 6 laughing.

The Muppets will give you the third-greatest gift in this world, laughter, and the film is worth it for that present.

 

2.5 shamrocks

Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Rashida Jones, Jack Black