Film review | The Muppets – The green frog and his old pals show off some new tricks

For the first time since 1999’s Muppets from Space, the madcap Muppets are back on the big screen with their trademark blend of innocent wonder, gleeful musical spoofs and knowingly cheesy jokes in their new movie The Muppets.

But the world has moved on since the Muppets’ heyday. Can they still work their magic in a harder, more cynical age? That’s what overgrown Muppets fan Gary, played by the film’s co-writer, Jason Segal, sets out to discover when he travels from Smalltown, USA to Hollywood with his chirpy girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) and shy brother Walter (who resembles a Muppet himself) to find out what has happened to their heroes. Learning that a wicked oil tycoon (Chris Cooper) is planning to tear dawn the Muppet Studios, they strive to rally the old gang to save the day. They find Kermit living in seclusion in his Bel Air mansion; Fozzie Bear performing with a dreadful Muppets tribute band, the Moopets, in Reno; and Miss Piggy in Paris, working as the Plus-Size Editor of French Vogue (Emily Blunt, in a nod to The Devil’s Wears Prada, plays her receptionist).

Soon enough, the former colleagues are back together, preparing to stage a telethon in the Muppets’ old theatre to raise the $10million they need. Along the way, there are scores of knowing in-jokes, fleeting 1980s references and witty cameos (Neil Patrick Harris and Whoopi Goldberg are among those staffing the telethon phones; and Mickey Rooney, archetype of the putting-on-a-show-to-save-the-day cliché, briefly pops up too), but beneath the cleverness you’ll find warmth, sweetness and real affection for our fine felt friends.

On general release from Friday 10th February 2012.

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