The Muppets *****

Running time: 103 mins Certificate: U

Synopsis: When an evil oil man Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) discovers black gold beneath Muppet Theater, Kermit, devoted Muppets fan Walter, his brother Gary (Segel) and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) gather up the gang for a telethon that will save the venue from being replaced with a giant oil pump.

The story’s mean theme is about being forgotten in a cynical modern world. This aspect is perfect as the characters had been long forgotten by the fans that adored them and by the kids of today. There are nods and winks to the past movies and enough things to entice younger audiences with cameo roles (Jack Black and Dave Grohl).

The best thing is that the filmmakers have been incredibly careful not to mess with a well tested, if it ain’t broke formula. It helps that Segel is like Walter a devoted fan himself and knew exactly what to do with the ailing franchise.They have also decided to focus on The Muppets themselves, rather than the human characters.

It has taken Disney, years to figure out how to revive The Muppets franchise. Now Jason Siegel and his frequent collaborator Nicholas Stoller have brought the beloved puppets back from the dead, with a fantastic nostalgic, witty, moving script that Muppet fans will absolutely love.

The musical numbers composed by Flight of the Conchords Bret McKenzie are toe-tappingly catchy which will have the audience singing the songs on the way home. The use of Nirvana and Cee Lo Green are reinvented brillantly into the context of The Muppet Show.

There are some things that do not work so well, Amy Adams in particular appears to be underused. Her song “Me Party”, while memorable seems out of place. While a few of the cameos do not entirely work within the film.

These are minor complaints in what is a fantastic return of The Muppets. It will appeal more to an older age group, but there is plenty here to keep the whole family entertained for years to come.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

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