This past weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing the new Muppet movie starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams as well as a new muppet character; Walter. I have three words for this movie; Waka waka waka! The Muppets come back strong after a hiatus that I feel was much too long. How could America forget about Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the gang? Apparently, they have and the Disney crew has had just about enough of it. On November 23rd, “The Muppets” movie was released nationwide, and along with it came great reviews. The premise of the film is that while on vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, and his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) discover the evil plot from oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to destroy the famous Muppet Theater and drill for oil that he discovered beneath the theater grounds. Walter helps Kermit reunite the old gang who has all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs in a Reno casino tribute band called, The Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing businessman. In order to save the theater, the gang comes together to put on a telethon show. All the old favorite characters were included in the film, the Swiss chef, the old men in the balcony, hippie chick, even the Latin shrimp made a cameo. This movie was in true Muppet fashion-laden with celebrity names like Alan Arkin, Zack Galifianakis Selena Gomez, Jack Black, Jason Segal, Amy Adams, and Sarah Silverman, just to name a few. The Muppets come up against some resistance from the ABC executive (Rashida Jones) who refuses to air the Muppets telethon because they are passed their prime and America is now interested in such shows like “Punching Teacher”. Throughout the movie, there are songs with inspirational and moral messages. “Life’s a Happy Song” explains how much better the world is when you are who you are meant to be and sharing it with the ones you love.
My friend had invited me and my daughter to see it with her family. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about going since the last one I saw was painfully boring (aka “Muppets in Space” circa 1999). When I got there, I was surprised to see pretty much the entire theater full on a Sunday matinee since it was the first weekend of the Christmas shopping rush. I was also surprised to find that it placed second for the highest movie tickets sold in the country. With America is still in love with Vampires, which took the number one spot, and I still don’t get, but I digress.
As I watched, I discovered that I just couldn’t resist enjoying the silliness, uplifting songs, and very cheeky jokes that are weaved heavily throughout this film (Fozzie Bear’s fart shoes went over huge with the audience). I actually found myself laughing out loud and was brought back to my childhood days of innocence and wonderment that the Muppets brought into my life each week. The movie also had jokes and parts that only adults would get. There were actually a couple of instances that I had to explain to my daughter because the jokes went over her head. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Muppet movie without the song “Rainbow Connection.” I was heart warmed to hear it and softly sang along, remembering every word. I was instantly twelve years old again. I looked over at my friend and saw her wiping the tears from her eyes. It has to mean something when a piece of felt with ping pong eyes sings a melody has the ability to move someone to tears.
Simplicity at its best, I say.
So why is it that we as a society refuse such simplicity? We are so stressed; our comedies are dark, cynical, and hardly silly. Gone are the days of movies like “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” (admit it, seeing OJ Simpson getting pushed off a balcony in a wheelchair was hysterical). Sure there have been some satires relating to “scary movies”, however, one would have to be under the age of 21 and into horror flicks to get the jokes. The Muppets make it completely OK for society to indulge in this guilty pleasure of simplicity and silliness for an hour and 42 minutes. Seriously, what is funnier than fart shoes? Absolutely nothing.