One of the best reasons for seeing the newest Muppets movie is for the ‘where are they now?’ treatment they get – some are doing better than others; Miss Piggy is doing pretty well and looking fabulous in pink Chanel in Paris. There are many, many truly laugh out loud moments, and many more “Did they really say that?” chuckles. We’ve decided we’ll have to go see it again later, or be sure to get the inevitable DVD with all the goodies, just to catch all the juicy gags that were hard to catch in a packed theater.
The Muppet franchise is revitalized with “The Muppets,” a funny, wickedly self-aware musical that opens by acknowledging they’ve outlived their shelf life. There’s some truth in that observation; this is the first Muppet movie since “Muppets From Space” (1999), and there wasn’t exactly a clamor for a revival. Yet for those who grew up with the Muppets, they had lovable personalities and (shall we say?) character defects.
What’s rather canny about this revival is that it sidesteps the fact that some younger viewers may not actually be very familiar with the Muppets.
Their parents will be the fans. The movie opens with the Muppets disbanded; their movies and TV shows are all in the past. They’ve moved on. Miss Piggy, we discover, became the editor of a Paris fashion magazine.
Yes, and it’s the ones that are not doing that well that add poignancy to the story – it’s not been a happily-ever-after for some of the secondary characters. That the human characters (and one new Muppet character) do seem to inhabit a perfect little small-town universe just makes the gritty “reality” that much harder for them to accept. And they decide to do something about it.
The movie keeps delivering laughs… hours later, we’re still cackling: “Maniacal laughter. Maniacal laughter! MANIACAL LAUGHTER!”