REVIEW: “The Muppets.” It’s Time To Get Things Started.
Walt Disney Pictures
2. Segel plays Gary, who grows up with Walter in "Smalltown" idolizing the Muppets but in a stage of arrested development himself, with his long-suffering girlfriend Mary (played as charmingly as ever by Amy Adams, though it might have been smarter to give her a more modern touch) waiting for him to let go of the Muppets and marry her. With an enjoyable, self-referential dance sequence to open the movie, Segel and director Jason Bobin set a fun, anything-goes tone that's an echo of "Flight of the Conchords," where Bobin made his name. (There's a hilarious moment when, at the end of a town-wide song-and-dance, when Gary, Mary and Walter leave, the whole citizenry collapses in relief; "They're gone!") The trio heads to take a tour of the dilapidated, abandoned Muppet Studios in Los Angeles, where they discover that an evil oil baron (Chris Cooper, having a grand old time) plans on destroying the building because there's oil underneath, of course. So they go meet Kermit, gather up the old gang and put together One Big Show to try to save the studio. If nothing else, Segel gets credit for ending his Muppet movie with One Big Show. It could be no other way.
Walt Disney Pictures
3. It was a clear strategic decision for Segel and company to make the rest of the world, outside the Muppet universe, essentially Muppet-ized itself; this is not Kirk and Spock riding a bus with a mohawked guy blasting a boom box. This is a bit strange at times, though, when we're told the world has forgotten about the Muppets, that they're relics of an older, less cynical time. Really? This movie's going to be a huge hit; people still love the Muppets, to be certain. But the movie still has much fun with what the Muppets are up to these days. Fozzie is working a casino show in Reno with "the Moopets." Gonzo is a millionaire plumbing magnate. Animal is in an anger management class with Jack Black. Rowlf (my personal favorite Muppet) is just sleeping in a hammock. Most memorably, Miss Piggy is the plus-size editor of French Elle, complete with an assistant played by Emily Blunt, revising her very funny "The Devil Wears Prada" role. These scenes when the Muppets take over are so much fun that you start caring less about Gary, Mary and Walter. You just want the Muppets to just keep hanging around and doing crazy things. The main characters of the movie become a distraction, which makes one wonder why they're around in the first place. More Muppets.