I’m going to preface this review with the fact I didn’t really grow up with the Muppets. I never watched the Muppet Show. I’ve seen I think only two of the movies. I watched Muppet Babies sometimes when I was little, though. But that’s about it. The idea behind this film is that it’s been years since The Muppets have been out of the spotlight, but Walter (voice: Peter Linz) is their biggest fan. When Walter travels to L.A. with his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary’s long-time girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), he’s distraught to find out that the Muppet Studio is going to be torn down so that oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) can drill for oil. But if Walter can help get the Muppets back together and then do a telethon to raise $10 million, they can buy the studio back and protect their legacy.
And I think legacy is a key word here. I think the movie relies pretty heavily on the hope that you’re a Muppet fan and have seen the other movies and/or the show. There are what I’m assuming to be loads of references to these things to hit at a nostalgia factor. However, as I haven’t seen these things, nor having been raised with it, most of the references (with one or two exceptions) were pretty lost on me. Fortunately, I think that was the film’s biggest (and/or only) detriment, in my eyes.
Then there are the pluses. Anyone who knows me (or has read my signature here) knows that I’m a big fan of meta. And if the Muppets are anything, they’re meta. There were a bunch of great self-referential jokes, letting the audience know that everybody involved were aware that this was a movie. These moments were my favorite part and really elevated the movie for me. Also, anyone who really knows me knows that I dig musicals. The music in this film was pretty good with some catchy numbers. I don’t know if I’m gonna run out and buy the soundtrack or anything, but I was surely entertained as I watched. (Yes, that includes Chris Cooper’s totally bizarre rap number.)
I’m going to keep this review short, because if you’re a fan of the Muppets, you’ll like it. If you’re like me and only have minimal experience with the Muppets, you’ll at least enjoy it. If you for some reason hate the Muppets, well, you weren’t going to see it anyway. It’s totally harmless and it’s pretty fun and (to use how my mom describes movies) cute. The meta humor is what makes it all work for me, and the cameo appearances (as are in all Muppet movies) are great. Check it out if you haven’t already.