'The Muppets' world of fiction leaves audiences in stitchesBy Walker Donaldson | 12/04/2011 11:10pm
If the real world were anything like the world in “The Muppets,” The Crimson White would not have anything to report about. The problems that plague our campus would be solved with musical numbers, slapstick humor and the UA administration taking the occasional bowling ball to the head, thrown by a small furry creature named Gonzo. Alas, the world in the latest installment of “The Muppets” is only fiction, and Gonzo is not going to throw bowling balls at anyone.
“The Muppets” is not a complicated story, yet it works incredibly well. Walter, the world’s biggest Muppets fan, and his older brother, Gary (Jason Segel), travel to Los Angeles with Gary’s girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), in hopes of seeing the Muppets at their studio and meeting some of the cast.
Upon arrival they find a decrepit studio – no Muppets are to be seen. Walter quickly learns that local oil baron Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans to buy the studio and destroy it. The only hope Walter and the Muppets have of saving the studio from Richman is to host a telethon where they raise the necessary funds to save the studio. So begins a whimsical story in which the Muppets must reunite for a grand finale.
It would appear that the greatest challenge in making a film like “The Muppets” is creating sincere interaction between the puppets and real actors. Segel, Adams and Cooper, the three characters that have the most interaction with the Muppets, never miss a beat. Their interactions with the Muppets (who are in almost every scene) never seem superficial, and instead create a genuine sense of reality.
Segel and Adams have the most time in front of the camera, and they are fantastic. Segel, most notable for his roles in the hit TV show “How I Met Your Mother,” and movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” swaps his normally crude sense of humor for a more childlike sense of wonder and loyalty to the Muppets.
Segel plays the ultimate older brother. Filled with wisdom and a desire to love both Mary and Walter, he only wants to do what is best for other people in his life. The children in the audience who were not too busy running around the theater must have had some desire to return home after the film to find a Gary-like older brother waiting to play with them. Segel is fantastic in the film, and when he and Adams are in front of the camera together, it becomes tempting to leap out of your seat and join in on the latest musical number.
Unfortunately, “The Muppets” is fiction and we do not live in a world where you can claim Smalltown, U.S.A., as your home, but that does not make the movie any less enjoyable. Like “Toy Story 3,” “The Muppets” is not just a film intended for children. It combines the slapstick humor and goofy jokes intended to illicit laughs from almost all ages with subtle satire that is sure to leave even the most stoic of adults in stitches.