As a child I was a big fan of The Muppets, and I still believe their adaptation of Dickens’ Christmas Carol is the finest there is. Though what with this film essentially being a reboot, and my opinion that modern reboots have been well, less that stellar, I went into the screening with some apprehension. However, I am happy to report that this all wall ill-founded and I was laughing from the get go.
The film follows the adventure of two, brothers Gary (Jason Segal) and Walter (voiced by Peter Linz). Walter is clearly not a human, though the film (which is very self–referential throughout) deals with this is several amusing ways before you have a chance to question how the two could be brothers. The pair head to Hollywood with Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to visit the Muppet studios. Unfortunately the studios are now in a state of disrepair and soon to be bought and destroyed by evil oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper). So it is up to the Walter, Gary and Mary to reassemble the Muppets to put on one last show to raise the funds to buy the property before Tex can.
The movies second act involves the over-used plot device of ‘getting the gang back together’, however it is very amusing to see who they have been up to since the shows demise, and just as you think it might start to drag Gonzo suggests it would be quicker to do so in a montage. This is just one example of the many tricks the film has that make it overcome many of the failings of other comedies.
The cast all put in good performances, and there is a hugely impressive cast of cameos from film and tv stars, though it I will not give any away as it is more fun seeing them pop up during the film. Segal who also co-wrote the film with Nicolas Stoller; plays the lovable everyman that he is great at and Cooper is a hammy delight as an evil baddy, displaying some suprisingly respectable rapping skills, not something one would expect considering he is most known as the repressed neighbour in American Beauty. Though to be fair the Muppets and very talented Muppetears steal the show and you will no doubt fall in love with them and their ridiculous character traits all over again.
The key to films success is its very high joke rate, there is at least 1 every minute, and while with a lesser script this would derail a film, though because the vast majority of them work and there are numerous hilarious moments; this makes for a great comedy. The movie also features some catchy and well choreographed musical numbers, no surprise considering the songs were written by Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame.
Obviously it has a very different tone but if I were to compare this in another film in the last decade I would choose Team America, the puppet connection aside they both have constant jokes and amusing fun songs.
I know we are only very early in the year but I think I will struggle to find a comedy I enjoy more than The Muppets, and considering by it’s current 97% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes I’m not the only one who’s a big fan.
Movie Rating: 5/5