Bringing back my childhood one Muppet at a time

I must admit to being excited about the current renewed interest in The Muppets. We have seen all of  these fantastic and hilarious videos, like “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And those videos turned out to be YouTube gold. So it was not a huge surprise when a new Muppets movie was announced and is the first Muppet movie in a very long time. And personally, I would like to say, this film was well worth the wait.

“The Muppets” movie starts out with a very bleak picture of what has happened to our favorite green, pink and purple friends. The original Muppets Studio has fallen into a state of disrepair and is very close to falling into the hands of an evil oil millionaire set to destroy the studio in order to drill for oil. Only $10,0000 can save the studio.

The film starts out introducing us to brothers Gary and Walter, from Smalltown, USA. These brothers aren’t like most brothers, though, as Walter is obsessed with The Muppets. Walter also happens to actually be a Muppet. Exactly how two human parents created one human child and a muppet child is not explained, but it doesn’t need to be. Because the chemistry between Gary, played adorably by Jason Segal, and Walter is that dead on.

We also meet Mary, Gary’s long-time girlfriend, played by Amy Adams. Mary has grown upset over the past 10 years, as Gary has not seemed to want to make a commitment and still seems to put Walter’s needs above hers. Her disappointment, though, is not selfish, but sweet. She kindly goes along with all of Gary’s plans, in spite of giving up her dreams of spending her time and her life life with Gary.

Obviously, we’re talking great casting here. As mentioned previously, Jason Segal, is adorable as Walter’s brother. He also happens to be the film’s writer and you can tell that this was a labor of love for him. Amy Adams is the only girl who can play a role that would be over the top for any other actress, but she finds a way to make you really feel for her characters, even though you normally might not. I don’t know how she exudes so much sweetness without making it annoying, but she does so effortlessly.

And of course, what would The Muppets be without cameos? Lots of big-name stars put in an appearance throughout the course of the movie. My favorite happened to be Dave Grohl – be sure to look for him in one of the Reno scenes.

But the real stars of “The Muppets,” are, of course, The Muppets themselves. We are re-introduced to Kermit – who has split with Miss Piggy due to his inability to communicate his true feelings – Miss Piggy herself, Animal, Sweetums, Statler and Waldorf, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and the rest of the crazy gang. And in being re-introduced to them, those of us who remember “The Muppet Show” are taken back to our childhood for one last hurrah (although let’s hope it won’t be the last). This movie was not made for today’s kids in mind. Segal has crafted a piece that is a movie for the inner children of adults and it works beautifully.  Sure, the kids might like this, but this is not their movie. IT IS OURS.

Not to be outdone, there are a lot of amazing and even comical musical numbers. Especially memorable is “Am I a Muppet or am I a Man?” which made me giggle out loud as it was being sung by Segal and Kermit, with the help of “The Big Bang Theory’s” Jim Parsons. This is no surprise, though, as the songs were written by one Brett McKenzie, who acted as musical supervisor to the show. If that name sounds familiar, he’s most well-known as part of the comedy duo “Flight of the Conchords.”

To top off the musical numbers, Academy Award winning actor Chris Cooper raps. Yes, he raps. I think I freaking lost my mind when that happened.

What’s beautiful about “The Muppets” is their absolute willingness to stroll down memory lane. I dare anyone my age not to get a little teary-eyed when Kermit and Miss Piggy start a duet of “The Rainbow Connection.” By the time the song was over, I was a weeping mess and I am not ashamed to admit it.

And yet, this is an updated Muppets, too, as shown by an unforgettable sequin-wearing chicken version of a Cee Lo tune. And who doesn’t love singing chickens?

In the film, the bad guys keep saying that The Muppets are has-beens, a throwback to a more innocent and forgotten time. That may be true, but this movie proves that The Muppets are still relevant and still have the ability to put smiles on faces and songs in hearts. Maybe it’s time we remembered that innocence again. Because The Muppets bring the third best gift to the world: laughter.

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