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Muppets, The (DQ)


Stars: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Chris Cooper, Jack Black, Alan Arkin, Emily Blunt, Rashida Jones, Zach Galifianiakis, Bill Cobbs, Selena Gomez, Whoopi Goldberg

Director: James Bobin

I love the Muppets dearly, but, although some fun is had, this probably does prove that their day is done. The plot is a lovely idea, but it never quite works. The leads, Segel (who also co-wrote and co-produced) and Adams are, although good singers, rather cloying, and guest star Black adds little to the show. Cooper's villain, however, is well conceived, and he's probably the best thing in this.

Gary (Segel) and Walter, a muppet, are brothers (a faintly creepy idea in the first place) who, with Gary's fiancee Mary (Adams) take off for Hollywood on a trip to see the old Muppet Studio. Alas, the place is practically derelict, hosted only by a doddery old guide (Arkin) and about to fall into the clutches of Tex Richman (Cooper), who's convinced there's oil beneath them thar Muppets.

The trio sets out to save the theatre by launching a charity telethon, but the Muppets, the intended stars, have all gone their separate ways. Kermit is approached in his lonely mansion, and the group has soon retrieved Fozzie Bear from a Muppet tribute show, Miss Piggy from her Paris couturier, Animal from an anger management farm, and so on.

Naturally, Cooper is determined to sabotage the telethon, and Walter must be persuaded to join the show.

Although Statler and Waldorf are as drily funny as ever, a lot of the old vim and verve (as the Cowardly Lion once put it) is missing from the film. Previous Muppet movies, A Christmas Carol especially, have been a delight, but there's too little invention and inspiration in this one. By the way, blink and you'll miss Mickey Rooney, which may or may not be a bad thing.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Colour by deluxe.
103 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 05 Feb 2012