2012 Running time: 109 Certificate: u Rating: 4

Synopsis

The legendary Jim Henson's original crazy gang - Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, et al - are forced to call on their buddies, including Amy Adams and Jason Segel, to help them save their old theatre from a villainous oil tycoon (Chris Cooper). More than a decade after their last cinema outing, the fuzzy funsters are back, brilliantly barking as ever with super-dynamic setpieces and infectious live numbers, including the ever game Adams being outshone by a singing chicken. Great Gonzo, it's a winner... and that includes a best song Oscar for Man or Muppet.

Director

  • James Bobin

Cast

  • Jason Segel

  • Amy Adams

  • Chris Cooper

  • Steve Whitmire

Review

In the 12 years since the Muppets' last big screen outing, multi-medium franchise behemoths (Harry Potter, Twilight) and big-budget 3D blockbusters have become the standard for a generation weaned on loud, explosive thrills.

So it was understandable that when news broke that Jim Henson's most fuzzy, charming and loveable of puppety Muppety creations were making a comeback, many feared they'd be returning to a movie-going audience who neither remembered nor wanted them.

Thankfully, The Muppets is clever, endearing and - most importantly - funny enough to not only understand their current quandary, but embrace it and use it to their advantage.

Set years after the gang's last performance, the Muppets themselves have gone their separate ways, while their studios have been left in disarray and disrepair.

When Cooper's nefarious tycoon Tex Richman reveals he's set to demolish the Muppet Theatre to drill for oil, it's up to diehard fans and brothers Gary (Jason Segel - human) and Walter (Peter Linz - muppet), and Gary's girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams - debatable) to reunite the old gang and put on one last performance to raise $10m and save the day.

The only problem is, even if they're able to wrangle the Muppets into performing shape, no-one seems to remember or even care who they are in the first place.

Anyone who saw Segel's puppet performance in Forgetting Sarah Marshall could have guessed he had more than a passing affection for the Muppets, and while some diehard fans have grumblingly voiced their dissent over an 'outsider' taking the creative reigns of the franchise, it's hard to think of anyone better than the most Muppet-like human movie star of the moment.

Roping in Flight of the Conchords' director James Bobin and star/musical maestro Bret McKenzie was similarly inspired, energising both the set-pieces and musical numbers with suitably infectious, singalongable and loveable mirth.

Yet while there's enough silliness to have both kids and adults giggling (an all-fowl rendition of one of 2010's biggest pop hits is a notably stupid stand-out), there's a surprising amount of emotional nostalgia to ensure older fans' heart strings are tugged as efficiently as the puppets' control ones.

Sure, the storyline's about as generic as you can get, Adams is outshone by a singing chicken, and not every Muppet truly gets their time to shine.

But as a first step back on the road to superstardom, it's the Muppets at their best - the unbridled joy of seeing the gang back in action, the array of superstar celebrity cameos, and a tracklist stuffed with instant Muppet musical classics ensures that you'll leave the cinema with a smile as big as a Thog.

And really, that's what the the Muppets are all about. The most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational comeback fans could have hoped for.

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