THEY’RE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK.
On a visit to Los Angeles, two brothers who are huge fans of the Muppets realize that the old studio closed down years ago… and now the showbiz gang are in danger of losing everything, including their name. The first Muppet movie in 12 years wisely, cleverly and disarmingly acknowledge the fact that time has passed and cheerfully accepts the challenge of attracting a new generation. Kudos to the filmmakers (including star, co-writer and co-executive producer Jason Segel) who may employ a time-worn formula but still earn laughs and make Muppet fans feel right at home. They also came up with the brilliant idea to hire Bret McKenzie to write songs.
2011-U.S. 103 min. Color. Produced by David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman. Directed by James Bobin. Screenplay: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller. Song: “Man or Muppet” (Bret McKenzie). Cast: Jason Segel (Gary), Amy Adams (Mary), Chris Cooper (Tex Richman), Rashida Jones. Muppet Performers: Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta. Cameos: Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Emily Blunt, Whoopi Goldberg, Jack Black, Mickey Rooney, James Carville, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, Judd Hirsch, John Krasinski.
Trivia: Frank Oz, the original Miss Piggy, was first hired to direct, but wasn’t happy with the script and departed. Followed by Muppets Most Wanted (2014).
Oscar: Best Original Song.
Last word: “I think there’s a misconception that a family film has come to mean a children’s film, and that’s not what it has to be like. The Muppets have an inherent tone that was never going to be dirty or raunchy, though I’m sure some of the executives were nervous that we were doing The Muppets with a sense of irony. But it doesn’t take long to realize that we had a pure love for The Muppets.” (Segel, NPR)