The Muppet Movie (2011)

This weekend, I was babysitting my two adored and adorable little nephews, Brady, who is 7, and Jack, who is 5. We went to the trampoline park and the toy store, and then we came home to bake a cake for their dad, who was celebrating a birthday. We mixed and measured and layered on nearly 5 pounds of candy, which they insisted their dad would love, including banana cannons and a candy fence we dubbed the fortress of bananatude (I know, this cake sounds banana heavy).

Anyway, the kids were discussing The Muppet Babies for some reason, which Jack pronounces ‘Muffin Babies’ and is pretty sure he’s saying the same thing we are. I’m thinking about Jack a lot today because he’s being brave and having a little surgery. Mostly I’m thinking about my sister, Jack’s mom – the surgery will likely be harder on her than on him. But anyway. After we discussed which muppets were our favourites (Kermit for Jack, Fozzy for Brady, who does work in an errant “wocka wocka” into random conversations), and how we’d recently seen them at Disney World, we decided that our pre-bedtime movie would be Lego Batman. Haha, just kidding, they watched that in the car (imagine as a kid having a movie screen in your car!) – we watched The Muppet Movie!!

It’s about two brothers, the human Gary (Jason Segel) and the muppet Walter, who is obsessed with THE Muppets, who they’ve compulsively watched on television since they were kids, but who have sadly been absent from show business in recent years. Gary and his human girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) are celebrating their tenth anniversary and plan to visit L.A. to celebrate, and Walter is thrilled to be invited along with them (by Gary, and a much more reluctant Mary) as it is the home of the Muppet studios. But once there, he discovers that an evil businessman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) is about to buy both the studio and the Muppet name right from underneath them. So he enlists Kermit to go on a roadtrip to assemble the old gang in an effort to raise the money to save the day.

Jason Segel showed his puppet fetish in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and went full kink with this script, clearly a loving tribute to a beloved franchise. There’s joy being spewed all over the screen in this film, the movie is dripping with it, and it’s fun just to sit back and get soaked in nostalgia. The script introduces a new character, Walter, with whom we re-experience the magic of the Muppets, and it’s great to see them back in action, recreating a lot of acts that we remember so fondly, in a format that we know and love. They work in plenty of celebrity cameos, both human and Muppet, and the whole thing feels like a love letter – not just to the Muppets, but to a new generation of kids just discovering them, two of whom were cuddled next to me in my bed.

At the end of the movie, when asked how they liked it, Jack exclaimed “I didn’t know Kermit had a car!” Because when you’re 5, even the most mundane things can seem momentous. The Muppets are that elusive thing that can bring out the kid in all of us.

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10 thoughts on “The Muppet Movie (2011)

  1. Reely Bernie

    Great story, Jay. Isn’t watching the movies with your nephews great? You never know what you’re gonna get. I just showed my 4 and 6 year old nephews Inside Out. The 6 year old cried when we all had to say goodbye to Bing Bong (whoops), and the 4 year old had absolutely no idea what was going on, but he “liked the cats.” You gotta love it 🙂

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    1. Jay Post author

      I bought the 7 year old Black Panther pjs for Christmas and had to return them. Turns out, he’d tried to watch the movie with his dad but was so traumatized by Black Panther getting stabbed that he’s totally off all things Black Panther. So much so that he still doesn’t know that he survived!!!

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      1. Reely Bernie

        Ha! That image will haunt him for the rest of his life. I think I was 10 when my dad introduced me to The Road Warrior and Creepshow (while my mom was out of town). It made me the movie-loving sicko I am today.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. J.

    Still haven’t seen this. Perhaps I should find it and watch it with the kiddos. That’s a good excuse anyway.

    Hope young Jack is feeling good, Jay. And your sister, of course. And you.

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  3. movieorin

    This movie isn’t very complex but it’s simplicity is really what makes it so pure and entertaining. It’s just super cute and innocent which I have no problems with.

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