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The Cynical Optimist just saw a Great Muppets Caper!

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“The Muppets” is the first Muppets theatrical release in 12 years, as well as the first Disney-produced Muppets film since 1996’s “Muppet Treasure Island.”

In the film, Walter (Peter Linz), the world’s biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) must raise $10 million to save the Muppet Theater from Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), an industrialist who wants to destroy the Muppet Theater to drill for precious oil.

Directed by James Bobin (who co-created “Flight of the Conchords”) and written by Segel and Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), “The Muppets” features Bret McKenzie (“Flight of the Conchords) as music supervisor, and what an awesome job he does.

McKenzie’s contribution includes six new musical numbers, including the gleeful opening number, “Life’s a Happy Song,”which you can check out here.

Don’t worry, “The Muppets” includes a few classic songs (obviously “The Muppet Show Theme” is present and accounted for) for good measure. I guess that’s really what Bobin’s film is all about – a new spin on a bit of nostalgia that reminds us (and poignantly so) of our childhood while delighting us with relevant pop cultural references. I mean, who would have thought the Muppets would cover Cee-Lo’s “Forget You” after all?

Segel and Adams do a great job of wandering through the world of the Muppets without stealing all the spotlight. You won’t find any Academy Award worthy performances here, but they’re totally invested and their interactions with Jim Henson’s friends are credible.

Musical numbers and performances aside, “The Muppets” is flat-out hilarious – prepare yourself for joyful belly laughs courtesy of Kermit and the gang – especially the latest addition, ’80s Robot. There’s plenty of celebrity cameos that will surprise moviegoers – I won’t spoil the fun but don’t blink or you might miss someone.

Being as this is Disney, the film is preceded by a new Toy Story short entitled, “Small Fry.” Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is left behind at a fast food restaurant when a kids’ meal toy version takes his place. All around, you’ll leave the multiplex satisfied after seeing “The Muppets” – it’s the perfect kind of heartwarming, optimistic, chaotic cinematic experience that adults and children can both appreciate.

I’ll be honest, it was hard for me to even write this review – being the cynical, jaded person I am – but “The Muppets” made me grin from ear-to-ear as I swept up in the childhood giddiness of it all.

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Author: Adam Frazier
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