There was always a danger The Muppets was going to shatter our childhoods. Lord knows Frank Oz tried to sour everyone’s grapes before it was even released; constantly claiming to anyone that would listen that the film wasn’t within the spirit of Jim Henson’s vision. He cited the numerous film parody trailers that appeared on the Muppet YouTube account in the run up to the film’s release and Fozzie’s fart shoes. Whether Jim would agree is hard to say, what with his unfortunate passing back in 1990. However, EBFS fails to see how he could disapprove of Jason Segal and Nicholas Stoller’s love letter to his most famous creations.
The story-line isn’t close to being complicated, but everyone on board knows it. So much so, the fourth wall is broken constantly as Muppets and humans alike openly discuss plot developments, and instigate montages when things appear to be taking too long. In between the meta-references, there are gags that everyone will get without mum and dad having to explain/ignore a penis reference (Shrek I’m looking at you). And yes, Oz, Fozzie’s fart shoes feel like a natural extension of the bad joke bear, so deal with it.
Like previous Muppet movies, the celebrity cameos are plentiful. Some do raise eye-brows (Sarah Silverman? Really?), but none are as bad the complete misfires of Kelly Osbourne and Quentin Tarantino in the Muppet’s Wizard of Oz. And what makes it better is that none of them overshadow Jason Segal and Amy Adams, the real stars of the flick, outside of Kermit et al obviously. Segal looks like he is in hog-heaven and EBFS is seething with jealousy. It’s bad enough he’s funny, musical and wrote a hit-comedy before he was 30, but now he’s acted alongside Gonzo the Great. Amy Adams is cute as a button and plays her part with gusto.
The songs by Bret Mckenzie are suitably catchy and cheerily ironic, without being cynical. A perfect highlight being ‘Are You a Man or a Muppet?’; a deliberately po-faced duet between Jason Segal and his muppet brother, Walter (Peter Linz).
In summary, The Muppets is as close to a perfect family film that you can get to. If you see it, and it fails to make you happy then you most certainly have lost your soul. And for that I’m truly sorry.