Segel fits in well with new ‘Muppets’ revival

It’s time to play the music….

It’s time to light the lights….

It’s time to re-meet the Muppets in the “The Muppets” movie, in theaters.

If you’re still reading this – if that horrible parody of “The Muppet show” theme song didn’t get your gag reflex going – just know you’re reading the musings of a huge Muppet fan.

So if you’re looking for objectivity, go somewhere else.

I believe every joke The Muppets make is better than the same joke made by humans.

Every time they break out in song, I completely forget to be cynical.

The Muppets can do no wrong.

So, the question isn’t, was “The Muppets” good. The question is whether the person in charge of “The Muppets” pay the correct tribute to the gang?

No one will ever replace Jim Henson and his mastery in “The Muppet Show” and movies like “The Muppet Movie,” “The Great Muppet Caper” and “Muppets Take Manhattan.”

But Jason Segel, who helmed the film, and who previously showed his love for puppets in the movie, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” won’t have Henson rolling around in his grave with his tribute. Segel gets what The Muppets are all about, and that’s the most important thing.

At the beginning of the movie, we meet Walter, a new Muppet, who hails from Smalltown, America. He’s a bit of misfit, but he feels at home watching classic episodes of “The Muppet” show. Walter’s brother is Gary, played by Segel, and they do everything together. In grand Muppet tradition, nothing is made of the fact that the brothers are puppet and human.

Gary is taking his longtime girlfriend, Mary, to Los Angeles for their 10th anniversary.Mary is played by Amy Adams in the same sweet, sparkling style of her fame-propelling character, Giselle, from “Enchanted.”

Walter tags along to see Muppet studios but when they get there, they find the studio is in ruins. Worse yet, an evil man named Tex Richman plans to tear it down and drill for oil. Tex is played by Chris Cooper in a pitch perfect performance of the classic, ruthless Muppet bad guy.

The threesome, led by Walter, must get the Muppet gang back together to perform a telethon to save their studio from destruction.

One of the best parts of the film is seeing what the Muppets have been up to in their time off. Fozzie, the comedian bear known for his love of saying “Waka, Waka, Waka,” has been working in Reno in a grungy Muppet tribute band called, “The Moppets.” Miss Piggy, naturally, is the fabulous editor-in-chief of French Vogue.

I won’t ruin it by telling you who it is, but the human actress who plays Missy Piggy’s assistant is a perfect choice for the cameo, based on of her previous roles. And this human cameo is just one of many that show that Segel knows that Muppets movies aren’t complete without cameos from popular actors of the day. No one else but the Muppets could pull such star power for such small roles.

In many other ways Segel pays tribute to Muppet classic hijinks – things like a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to “The Muppet Movie”-introduced “rich and famous contract” to a full blown performance of one beloved musical number, which will give viewers a delightful surprise.

None of the original songs of “The Muppets” are as catchy as this tune. And the ‘80s-themed songs – picked to reference to the height of Muppet glory – don’t always hit the spot. But the drawbacks to “The Muppets” just don’t add up.

And this is due to Segel, who lets the Muppets be what they’ve always been. It’s a gamble, but he trusts that their campiness, oddball humor and heart will translate to a new generation used to more sleek animated pictures.

If you aren’t already a fan of The Muppets, and you don’t know if you should see the movie, let me put it this way for you:

A couple of days ago I read a story that said Jason Segel wore a Superman cape under his clothes until he was 12.

There are people who will read this, and will think he is a freak. They’ll think, “It’s a good thing he is rich and famous now, because otherwise he’d have no life.”

Then there are people who will read this, and laugh a little bit. They’ll have a moment of nostalgia, before calling him a “silly man” and going back to their busy, adult lives.

And then there are people who will read this, and think it’s hilarious, and also kind of the coolest thing they’ve ever heard.

Those people are called lovers and dreamers.

And to those people, I say: Why are you still reading this silly review?

Just go see “The Muppets” for crying out loud.

TESSY PAWLOWSKI

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