Take Your Kids To The Muppets

I try not to shamelessly plug things that I like all the time, which is why I try only to rail against things that I hate, and to never write tribute songs about my favorite beverage, but I worry that there might be a family out there that is not planning on taking their children to see the best family movie I have seen in a long time that doesn’t have a Pixar short in front of it.  Oh wait, it does.

In order to be fair, I will list everything, good and bad, about the new movie, so that you can make up your own mind, but I highly recommend seeing it.  Whether or not you have kids is irrelevant.

Oh, by the way, SPOILER ALERT!

There is a Pixar short in front of it!  A Toy Story short!  It is hilarious, and Jane Lynch is in it.  I would go see “Twilight: Breaking Bad, Part 7” if it had a Pixar Toy Story short in front of it!

After listening to the soundtrack 87 times in the last week, I have discovered that there was a back story to the villain that was cut from the film, letting us know that he hated the Muppets because he did not know how to laugh.  This explains why bad-guy Tex Richman instead says the words “maniacal laugh” every time he wants to laugh.  This was clear to me by the end of the film, but the first time he did it, I thought he was just instructing his henchmen to laugh maniacally, perhaps because he was so rich he had people to laugh for him.  A minor quibble, but I just thought you should know.

OMG the soundtrack!  The songs are written by Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords, and the film is directed by James Bobin, who directed the Conchords’ television show, and you can really tell.  I left the theater pretty sure that “Man or Muppet” was my favorite song, and the most Conchordy, but after listening to the awesome rap by Chris Cooper, I felt sure that either the Rhymenoceros or the Hip-Hopopotamus could have sung it and been believable.  That being said, Ruby’s favorite song is definitely “Me Party,” and the song I find myself putting on the most is the big opening number, “Life’s a Happy Song.”  It’s so Muppety, so funny, so….good!

After the movie-long plotline about Animal’s rehabilitation from drumming, I was waiting for, and expecting ,a huge drum number finale for him to go crazy on.  “Rainbow Connection” was not it.  It is just too mellow of a jam.  I mean, he rocked the drums, don’t get me wrong, but I would have liked to see him go crazy on a slightly peppier song.

“The Muppets” is perfect for all ages.  Edward, who is 1, loved it.  Yeah, he fidgeted around a bit and we had to move him to a seat that had no one in front of it so he wouldn’t bonk them, but he still loved the movie.  Ruby, who is 4, can’t stop talking about it, and we have had the soundtrack on repeat ever since we got home from the theater.  And me, my wife, my mother-in-law, and my brother and sisters in law all loved it as well.  There are plenty of jokes for adults, as well as the kids.  A perfect example is the use of chickens sing that naughty Cee-Lo song.  The adults figure out quickly the “Cluck You” joke, and the kids just hear a bunch of chickens clucking along to a happy tune.  Brilliant!

When they rebuild/clean the old theater up, they do it to “We Built This City,” by Starship.  Now, I love that song as embarrassingly much as you do, but it would have been the perfect spot for an Electric Mayhem blow out.  Some of my favorite songs in the previous movies have been when Dr. Teeth and company let loose on some awesome rock and roll, and we never got that in this movie.  “Can You Picture That?”  “Night Life” “You Can’t Take No For An Answer”  “……..”  See?  There should have been something there besides Starship.

“The Muppets” is absolutely respectful of all the old traditions, while updating the feel for a new generation.  The things that people like Frank Oz are complaining about are silly.  He doesn’t like Fozzie’s fart shoes, which are in the movie for one second, and are actually used as a way to show that the Muppets don’t go there.  They are looking for acts and when Fozzie breaks out his fart shoes, they all groan and shoot him down.  Perfect for a bear who loves whoopie cushions, rubber chickens, and any other form of lowbrow comedy.  And the fact that Kermit lives in a mansion instead of the swamp?  Well, “The Muppet Movie” was sort of the story of how he got out of the swamp.  He signed the standard “rich and famous” contract.  It only makes sense that he would wind up with the other rich and famous folk.  The important thing is that his character was unchanged, and he was the same humble and unassuming frog that we all knew and loved.

The movie is already a success.  It more than made back its budget in the opening Thanksgiving weekend, so I’m sure we will see more Muppety things on the horizon, and that’s great.  I just wanted to let you all know that if you are looking for a movie to see with your kids, this is the movie for you.  If you are looking for a movie to see with all of your adult friends, this is the movie for you.  And if you are looking for a movie to take your teenagers to, well, tell them that “The Muppets” has Selena Gomez in it.

Posted in Movies, Muppets, Parenting.


  1. Thanks for explaining the “maniacal laugh” thing a bit better, I didn’t actually come up with “he doesn’t know how to laugh” and wish they hadn’t cut that. I kind of like knowing that he had a REASON to wamt to be so awful to the Muppets, in addition to just being rich & greedy…

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