It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie Reviews
Plot: The Muppet's banker recently dies leaving his job to his very greedy wife, Rachael Bitterman. While her husband agreed to extend the Muppet's contract, Mrs. Bitterman takes advantage of the fact that he really didn't and so threatens The Muppets to pay her or she will foreclose their theater. So the Muppets attempt to keep their theater by attempting to make a very huge Christmas show.
It's an okay movie. If anything, it's enough that it's The Muppets. I mean you just have to love how they spoofed Moulin Rouge, Steve Irwin (The Lord rest his soul) came in being the crocodile hunter, there were actual Whos who were very pissed of at the Grinch, I like that. And I like their choice of guest stars like David Arquette and the cast of Scrubs (that was cool). The downs that I have to this movie was that it was roughly the same plot as the latest movie, and that I didn't entirely care for the climax to pretty much be It's a Wonderful Life. But that doesn't make it any less of a decent movie.
The Muppets: They're awesome...i mean they're The Muppets so duh.
Joan Cusack/Rachael Bitterman: She was an okay villain. It's really the end that was bad about the character, it was a little carried away. I'm sure it works for kids and maybe adults and that's fine, but still.
Music: I thought it was nice.
And that's my review for It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas. It's not the best The Muppets have but it's enough that it's The Muppets in the positive sense.
Look, I know Jim is dead. I do. I get that. Jim is dead. Richard Hunt is dead. Frank Oz? Still alive, but not really interested in the Muppets much these days. (Jim's death hit him pretty hard, I understand.) I know. It's been a very long time since they started. Carroll Spinney is training his replacement so that there won't be the confusion when he dies--or if he retires--that there was when Jim died. Jim was unexpected. Carroll Spinney is getting old, and one of the best-known segments he ever did involved another performer's death. And while [i]Sesame Street[/i] went on without Mr. Hooper, it just couldn't without Big Bird and Oscar. The money people are in charge now, and Jim was really the driving creative force behind the Muppets anyway. Brian has proven himself no substitute. I know all these things. I'd wager I know them better than most people, inasmuch as I know who Richard Hunt was. This may not be the point.
The Muppet Theatre is no longer owned by Scooter's uncle. I'm not sure when this stopped being the case, but at any rate, the mortgage is now held by the Evil Rachel Bitterman (Joan Cusack). And of course, the Muppets have never really run a profitable organization. It's well established that tickets are free, for example. (You think Statler and Waldorf would go if they had to pay?) However, Miss Bitterman hates good natured wackiness and instead wants to put up a nightclub where she can charge too much for watered-down drinks. She somehow enlists Pepe the Prawn, I kind of missed how, to help her in her nefarious scheme. Fozzie just barely fails to get the mortgage money to her, and she's going to foreclose. Kermit, in true Christmas movie fashion, wishes he'd never been born and learns how wretched his friends' lives would have been without him. Aided, because the Muppets have really gone downhill, by David Arquette.
Oh, there were a few moments which were designed to appeal to those of us who have loved the Muppets long and well. They show, for example, that without Kermit, Doc Hopper would have succeeded in his terrifying chain of fried frog leg franchises. There's even, on the menu, a fried green burger on a fried green bun. And the idea that we're back in the theatre, the place where we learned to love the Muppets in the first place, is a wistful one, for all it's wasted with a giant [i]Moulin Rouge[/i] production number. But that's it. For every moment that really makes you wistful for the old days, there's a moment which lets you know exactly how long ago they were. Piggy has moved on and is shown as a glorified extra on [i]Scrubs[/i]. At one point, there's a [i]Fear Factor[/i] scene which is theoretically about Rizzo (himself relatively new as a major character) but is instead about the wackiness of humans interacting with Muppets. When the whole point has been that it isn't wacky in their world.
Very few things in movies are funny without a little effort. The problem with those sops to us old fogeys is that it only serves as a reminder of the days when the Muppets really tried. Yeah, okay; John Denver's dead, too. I really mostly only cared about him in a Muppet context anyway. However, they seem to have mostly taken an extremely generic script and slapped Muppets into it on the grounds that Muppets make everything better. The problem is that makes a movie that's better than it would have been without them but a reminder of when Jim basically hand-crafted the movies. The song Gonzo sings is of course the best in it. Gonzo gets all the best songs, you see. However, it's not something I'm going to find myself humming to myself days later. It's already slipped out of my memory, because it seemed like an afterthought. "Oh, yeah, we should put songs in this." There is a similarity in moment between Gonzo under the stars and Gonzo in that dreadful mall, but there is little similarity in execution.
If I were five, I probably would have liked this a lot better. If I had first seen it when I were five, leaving aside the chronological impossibility of the notion, I probably would have a nostalgia spot in my memory for it. However, one of the great things about the Muppets has always been that you don't have to be five to get into them. We watched [i]The Muppet Christmas Carol[/i] the other night, which somehow I have not yet reviewed, and there was one joke which could only have gone one way. Who better to play Marley but Statler or Waldorf? And of course you can't separate them, so you have to come up with a name for the second one. Which, naturally, was Robert. Now, the average kid wouldn't get that, even with the knowledge that "Bob" is a nickname for "Robert." They won't get the Hitchcock references which crop up in [i]Monsterpiece Theatre[/i] all the time, either. But Jim, like Walt, really believed in family programming. It was important that the parents not have to be dragged into things. As my kids would have to drag me into this.
Best part involving a muppet would be Statler and Waldorf's heckling as always.
The guest stars are mostly just cameos though, and barely get a lot of lines (or jokes). Macy, Arquette, and Goldberg all did good in their various parts though, but the story didn't have the heart of most muppet movies and for being a Christmas movie, it didn't focus on Christmas a whole lot either. Just them trying to save the theater. So A MUPPET'S CHRISTMAS CAROL will still be my favorite of their Christmas shows and I won't be making this part of my Christmas tradition any time soon. Plus Scooter didn't sound right at all. It was better when he didn't talk out of respect for Henson's passing.
"He took my wallet? Unbelievable!"
"And you don't have pockets. Even more unbelievable."