Sunday, November 27, 2011
Love: The Muppets
The Muppets -for all their cheery idealism- are a remarkably sophisticated act which, when piloted properly, offer a rare happiness and a densely layered humor. Their mere appearance inspires joy, yet, on the one-hand, they're a kid-friendly puppet act, on the other a self-aware, deeply meta variety act. Part of the beauty of the Muppets is derived from the wealth of their personalities. For every wide-eyed innocent, there's one snarkily pessimistic critic, maniac, or narcissist. When we were very small, we loved them because we wanted to know them. As we grew up, we loved them because we realized we did know them. The problem that The Muppets falls victim to is one of conflicted nostalgia. It expects that its die hard fans will want to visit (we do), but tends to revere its characters and busy itself entertaining the newbies
In an opening montage, we meet Gary (Segel) and his brother Walter. They're inseparable, and as they age, the two constants in their Smalltown lives are each other and a rabid Muppet fandom. They're Bert and Ernie in adjacent bunks, smiling through the hard times with bowls of popcorn and "Muppet Show" reruns. Walter's a fanatic. He finds hope in the Muppets. He should. He is one. So, naturally, when big brother Gary and his schoolteacher girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) embark on a Los Angeles vacation, they have little choice but to cart Walter along and sidestep romantic outings in favor of a trip to the holy land: Muppet Studios. Long story short: Muppet Studios is condemned, a dastardly businessman (Chris Cooper) plans on tearing it down, and Walter takes it upon himself to do the impossible...get the Muppets back together to save the studio.