Like any sane person who came out of The Muppets, I ended up singing the infectiously unforgettable line ‘I got everything that I nee-eed right in-front o-me’ on the streetcar home. Hats off to Bret McKenzie. But the sugar rush ended because of three grating yet forgivable flaws.
First is vintage store-clad (this is a good thing) Mary (Amy Adams), Gary’s (Jason Segel) girlfriend who si frustrated by her man’s undivided attention towards his Muppets-loving Muppet brother, Walter. Adams sings and dances feverishly, only bringing half of the joy that her scene partners, both human and Muppet, effortlessly produce. She’s more convincing when she’s playing against type than she is as an adorable love interest. It’s not entirely her fault, her face seemingly colourless and lit sloppily. She’s also one of three major female characters who, in a script co-written by Segel, are ‘attention seeking shrews’ ‘distracting men from work.’ An Oscar-nominated actress can’t save badly written characters like hers.
Chris Cooper rapping made me wince in my seat. And the characters’ self-awareness after singing their songs are a bit distracting.
And can I declare a fatwa against the premise in movies that the world is ‘cynical?’ Sure, as the movie shows, broken relationships and sketchy characters and greedy oilmen like Tex Richman (Cooper) and power-hungry executives like Veronica (Rashida Jones) do exist. But the world has its equal share of revisionist, retro-living, overgrown children. Our decade-long obsession for cute old anthropomorphic things is the reason Pixar gets awards. Cute is definitely why this movie exists.
James Bobin‘s movie epitomizes cute with the other Muppets whom this unconventional family is trying to reunite. The group find themselves on a mission to stop Richman from destroying the Muppet studio to build an oil well. Richman also wants to acquire the Muppets name to skew the well-known brand from its original content and form. Sound familiar?
The joyful aura is good enough to sustain itself for most of the movie. Despite the mushy middle, let’s remind ourselves that the movie begins with the postwar nostalgia of Smalltown, USA and we fell for it. Then we see the physical comedy, signature Muppets flailing, celebrity cameos like Emily Blunt and Leslie Feist and loved it. Then it sets up Gonzo as Chekhov’s gun and we smiled. And Kermit, the movie’s undisputed star, sings the old tunes as well as new songs and we cried and we loved the movie a bit more. 3.5/5
- Amy Adams on filming The Muppets: ‘It took a lot of energy’ (arts.nationalpost.com)
I saw this movie at the barbershop, eleven months after its theatrical release. Can I rank that higher or lower than seeing a movie on an airplane?
I only go to the barber twice a year. Either way he’s five subway stations and two buses all the way to the East End, which is a whole ‘nother universe where I could have gotten beaten up in high school. Most of the movies my barber shows are Uwe Boll movies, which are less repulsive than their reputation but woah are they bland.
Instead he had “Up.” The shop was popular and comfortable enough for me to wait for the duration of the film. I couldn’t get half of the dialogue because there were blow dryers all over the place but you know, that’s their livelihood.
Whatever dialogue I could grasp was very sophisticated. And it’s visual enough of a movie anyway – it’s gorgeous animation and Pixar to boot – that the balloons and Mr. Fredrickson’s (Ed Asner) Spencer Tracy-esque face was enough for me. The married life sequence melts the heart. The soundtrack accompanying said sequence and the whole movie has this optimism that could only be imagined at that of an earlier time. Weight and volume are also taken into consideration in this movie – the house, the balloons and the clouds seem to be fleshed out objects instead of drawings. And it’s agenda free unlike “Wall-E.”
Then the movie finished, and I’m getting my haircut, and the barber suggests to put on a UFC fight. For a child to watch.