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Doug & the Movies: 'The Muppets'

By Doug Wright | Posted - Nov. 25, 2011 at 7:50 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- It has been a woeful, 12 year Muppet void on the silver screen. We haven't been treated to an adventure with our eclectic friends since "Muppets from Space" back in 1999! Well, the void is filled with the simply titled offering, "The Muppets."

Jason Segle stars as Gary and Walter stars as, well, Walter -- two brothers who have been absolutely devoted to each other throughout their lives. As they grew, however, they both noticed a little difference. Gary got taller and grew into a strapping young man. Walter, on the other hand, stayed exactly his same size and retained his original appearance. Gary always stood up for his little brother and eventually Walter discovered the Muppets on TV. Now, here were folks he could relate to.

Big brother Gary knows little Walter is obsessed with the Muppets and decides to include Walter in a trip he had planned with his girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams). The destination is California and the Muppet's Studio Tour is at the top of the agenda. But, alas, when the three arrive to take the tour, Walter discovers his beloved TV and movie friends are not so popular anymore and their studio has fallen into disrepair.

A near perfect mix of the old, beloved bits and characters with an infusion of what is cool today.

Enter Chris Cooper as go-zillionaire Tex Richman, who is allegedly going to buy the property and turn it into a wonderful Muppet Museum. Of course, this is a diabolical ruse and the real intent is to tear it all down and drill for oil. When Walter catches wind of this, he convinces Gary and Mary to help him alert his heroes to avoid the disaster. They start with Kermit the Frog.

What follows is almost a Blues Brothers-type effort to get the old gang together so they can put on a show and raise enough money to buy the property and save their legacy.

"The Muppets" is a near perfect mix of the old beloved bits and characters with an infusion of what is cool today. The film pays homage to the past with a bunch of references to past glories and celebrity guests but has brilliantly infused starring roles and cameos from the latest and greatest of today. Not the least of which is Jason Segel.

It's obvious on the screen that Segel is having the time of his life. This self-admitted Muppets fan not only stars but is co-writer. And, Amy Adams has that naive sweetness that is a perfect fit. Then, there's Chris Cooper. In my opinion Cooper is one of the finest actors of our day and to see his considerable talents alongside the Muppets is delightful.

But wait, I haven't mentioned how endearing Walter is. Our newest little Muppet is fabulous and a highlight of the movie is the knockout musical number where he and his brother wrestle with whether they are Muppets or men.

While not my very favorite Muppet movie, I have to admit this one is right up there. Three stars and it is rated PG.

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Doug Wright


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