Ask anyone hovering around 40 what’s in a Big Mac, and I guarantee every person you ask will have the same answer: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun—all because of a jingle from the ’70s that was so effective, it stays with us today. Likewise, ask anyone in that demographic which is their favorite Muppet (mine’s Gonzo), and they will have an answer. The Muppets were as much a part of my childhood as banana bikes and pet rocks, which is why this movie is as much for the parents as the kids, and it does not disappoint.
The premise is simple: Gary (Jason Segel), his girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), and Gary’s would-be Muppet, Walter (Peter Linz), decide to pay a visit to their cherished Muppet theater. There, they discover the theater in disrepair, the Muppets gone and an evil oilman, Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), planning to tear the building down to drill on the land. Together, Gary, Mary and Walter set out to find the Muppets, who have scattered to the four winds, and save the theater. Think Jake and Elwood putting the band back together: They’re on a mission from God.
So, the set-up is clear: It’s a player piano and a damsel tied to the train tracks shy of an outright melodrama. Then they add the Muppets—the funniest, snarkiest, most heartwarming ragtag group of characters on earth and all is right with the world. Honestly, the film almost requires a plotline so rudimentary to show off the real talent. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel like a kid again, and your kids will become a new generation to know these beloved characters.
It's an 8.