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Muppets, The (AF)


Stars: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones

Director: James Bobin

“Is this movie in 3-D?” asks ever-carping Statler. “Nope”, comes the rejoinder from his partner-in-criticism Waldorf, “The Muppets are as one-dimensional as they've always been!”

And they’re also as funny, zany and simply splendid as ever in a joyous family comedy that should have parents begging their offspring to take them to see.
There are tuneful song-and-dance numbers, loony comedy, all the Muppet favourites from diabolical diva Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog in fine fettle and a suitably daffy plot that takes Segel (who also cowrote the film), his girlfriend Adams and his Muppet brother Walter (I can’t wait for the sequel to show us the parents who spawned one gangling human comedian offspring and also one Muppet son) from Smallville, USA to Hollywood to visit the legendary Muppet Studios.

There they find the one-time temple of comedy crumbling away while evil oilman Cooper (entertainingly over the top as a villain who requires ‘maniacal laughter’ as an accompaniment to his every utterance and who turns in a riotous rap song-and-dance number as a great garnish to his memorable performance) demands $10 million for the theatre.

Which leaves Segel and the Muppets to seize the day by following Hollywood movie tradition and putting on a show in the form of a telethon ‘hosted’ by a kidnapped Black (who is a lot more fun than usual for being bound all the time) to raise the cash…

Director Bobin (Flight of the Conchords) strikes exactly the right light note, succeeds in ensuring that Segel, Adams and Cooper hold their own (no easy matter) against the ever delightful Muppets and stages hugely enjoyably musical numbers to decorate a genuine delight. And, adding to the anarchic fun, there are cameo appearances by Mickey Rooney, Judd Hirsch, Zach Galifianakis, Alan Arkin, Neil Patrick Harris. and The Hangover resident loony, Ken Jeong.

And if you don’t believe my verdicts, try Kermit who claims: “We’re here to sing, dance, make people laugh and somehow, just make the world a little bit better place”

‘The Muppets’ did all that for me.

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Colour.
109 minutes. not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

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

Review date: 11 Feb 2012