Co-written by its star Jason Segal, The Muppets is notably a children’s film that essentially serves as an opportunity for a wonderfully indulgent nostalgic experience for an adult audience. The latest Muppets effort since the less than well-received Muppets From Space (1999) will, for much of its younger audience, be their first introduction to the irreverent grouping. Segal’s script cleverly balances the typical bizarre slapstick moments guaranteed to appeal to the younger audience members with wonderfully-realised moments of reflexivity.
Walter (performed by Peter Linz), a young Muppet, lives with his brother Gary (Jason Segal). Despite their loving relationship Walter feels displaced: following a night when he has once again found himself the subject of ridicule, Walter and Gary watch The Muppet Show. Walter is inspired, seeing hope in the gang’s gift of laughter.
Several years later, Walter is presented with the opportunity of visiting the theatre of his beloved heroes.Invited to join Gary and his girlfriend of ten years, Mary (a delightful Amy Adams) on their trip to celebrate their anniversary. Arriving at the now defunct theatre, Walter overhears a scheme to purchase the Muppet Theatre in order to gain access to hidden oil underneath. Walter, tracking down the now reclusive Kermit, convinces Kermit to round up the old gang, hoping to raise the necessary money to save their beloved theatre by putting on a show
Admittedly the plot itself is fairly limited and hardly original, but, as ever, this hardly matters in the case of the Muppets. The film doesn’t require a convoluted, complex narrative: instead, it is the wonderful moments of interaction between the characters that provide the perfectly pitched moments of whimsical comedy. Much of the film’s joy stems from simply seeing the familiar characters back onscreen. Its pure yet never naïve style ensures that even the most cynical of viewers will be unable to resistant the charms of the loveable, hilarious gang.
Segal, as evidenced by his script, is a clear fan of the original show: his script demonstrates a clear appreciate for its original source whilst, importantly, not simply revering the characters. Both Segal and Adams are wonderful, truly immersing themselves: lesser actors, or indeed, the overly serious may have found it difficult to interact with the gang. Instead the efforts of Segal and Adams ensure that the viewer,really believes in the plight of the loveable grouping: truly, a welcome return.