Love for The Muppets stems from a desire to escape and to believe that a land where puppets and people live together and choreographed singing and dancing are everyday activities is possible. It’s a place where kids easily escape and adults often get lost along the way.
The new Muppets movie followed the same path: the theater erupted with the giggly laughter of children immediately. Grimaces were shared by those of us a little older as the movie launched into its plot with a few cheesy songs and a reach to include humans and puppets as brothers. But it’s a movie where puppets and people live together, so what did we expect, really?
The movie grows on you – it’s well written and full of twists and turns. Of course there’s a happy ending, but the writers don’t travel by map to get there. They keep us on the edge of our seats with dual romantic storylines, layered obstacles, and strong star appearances, including a stellar performance by Jack Black, who always struck me as a little Muppet-like.
Kudos to the writers (including star Jason Segal): they fed right into our nostalgia with jokes aimed at those of us who watched the show the first time around. Delightful references, including a Muppets barbershop quartet performance of “Smells like Teen Spirit” and a quick glimpse of a Parisian medicinal marijuana shop, supplied the obligatory adult humor that makes us want to see kids’ films.
What really made the movie, though, was Jason Segal’s performance–or rather his true feelings that shone through his performance.
During his recent Saturday Night Live opening monologue, Segal mentions that he achieved two lifelong dreams in 2011: hosting Saturday Night Live and starring in a Muppets movie. He made it through an entire episode of SNL without laughing, but he doesn’t hide his joy during The Muppet movie. You can tell he’s excited. Like, shit-eating grin excited. And it’s completely contagious. Honestly, it’s enough of a reason to see the movie. This reviewer suggests that you do just that.