Last week Cami and I took Wednesday off. Largely to prepare for Thanksgiving and all the cooking we had offered to do for family. But we made sure to take a little time for ourselves to check out an afternoon matinee of The Muppets.
I've been wrestling with what to say about The Muppets in my review because (if Twitter is any indication) everyone already seems to be on the same page.
The movie is magical and left me smiling from ear to ear. It sounds trite, like a pull quote from a movie reviewer on some obscure CBS-affiliate. But its true. I don't think this is spoiling anything for you, because they're using the song on the TV ads, but by they time they break out "The Rainbow Connection" in the third act, The Muppets had me in a nostalgia headlock and it wasn't going to let go anytime soon.
But there's an intrinsic problem with nostalgia - it has a somewhat limited audience. I read a few reviews this weekend that said adults in the audience seemed to enjoy the film more than children. They wondered aloud if that would be a problem. The weekend box office seems to suggest as much.
The Muppets came in second place this weekend with $42 million. Breaking Dawn added over $62 million to its $221 million dollar take in its second week.
I think positive word of mouth with help buoy The Muppets over the holidays. But I can't deny that I really wanted to see Kermit and Piggy bash Edward and Bella's heads in at the box office.
What can you do? Breaking Dawn is for teenagers with lots of disposable cash and time to kill. The Muppets is a fantastic family film, but it's really more for the 30-somethings out there that barely have time to step away from their responsibilities.
Or maybe I'm projecting.
For what it's worth The Muppets isn't a perfect movie and I'd say the blame falls mostly on the shoulders of the human actors. Amy Adams was stunningly wasted as the token girlfriend/prop. She has a few good lines and sings her heart out, but I would have love to seen more.
Chris Cooper was cast as the heartless villain - an area where he typically excels. But for some reason, his performance left me a little cold. It was a little too much wink-wink, nudge-nudge for my liking. His rap song in the middle of the film was cringe-worthy. Also, was anyone else entirely confused by the subtitles they threw in there?
Jason Segal was more than capable as the film's leading man. Although there were contrivances in the plot that moved him away from the action in the last third of the movie to create false tension.
These are minor complaints, though. No one really goes to a Muppet movie to watch the humans. I'm just pointing out the things that distracted me a little bit.
As for the Muppets themselves, they were fantastic. I was continuously amazed at the lengths the movie went to present the Muppets as being free from any puppeteer manipulation. I was also very surprised how quickly I warmed up to the newest Muppet - Walter.
Segal made a smart decision in making Walter the proxy for the audience. Through his eyes, we were reminded of the enthusiasm we feel for the Muppets and what makes them special. Segal's script is keenly aware of the reality that the Muppets have essentially been lost to a generation. And while the film is primarily a nostalgia trip for the majority of the audience, it also has to serve as a reintroduction to the characters.
Look, all I know is that I've been singing "The Rainbow Connection" in my head over and over again for the last 5 days. It might be eroding my sanity, but I'm totally not complaining. The Muppets was fantastic from top to bottom and if you didn't enjoy it, you might be soul-dead. Just a head's up. Seriously. No smiles? You might want to get that checked out.
Did you see The Muppets this weekend? If so, what did you think? Leave your comments below!