Recently, I was invited to attend a fashion-packed preview of their latest film (out February 10th in the UK), and thus made my way to the Soho Hotel with one perfectly manicured eyebrow raised. That is, until I realised Bret McKenzie – of Flight of the Conchords – was music supervisor on the film. There is no doubt in my mind that Bret would attach himself to anything less than hilarious.
Let down, I was not. I know what you’re thinking: the Muppets are irrelevant…the kids today won’t get it – and as a typically analytical film critic, I expected to conclude the same. But, it was entrancingly optimistic. The film was nostalgic yet self-aware in a way that would leave an audience aged 5 to 50 excited.
To set the scene (and set the songs): the world’s biggest Muppet fan and Smalltown USA resident, Walter, goes to LA with his brother Gary and Gary’s girlfriend Mary. After discovering the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for oil beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds, Walter plans to convince the – now irrelevant – Muppets to reuinite and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater.
With Miss Piggy now a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, we even get to see Emily Blunt reprise her role as The Devil Wears Prada‘s bitchy first assistant. The cameos, in fact, are part of the Muppet charm; look out for Dave Grohl as a “Moopet”, Sarah Silverman as a greeter, Feist and Mickey Rooney as Smalltowners, and many more.
At the end of the day, what does a professional adult woman take away from The Muppets? As the film’s final musical number preaches, the simple fact that life’s a happy song.