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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Top Stories

'The Muppets': The Reviews Are In!

Critics are overwhelmingly happy with the big-screen reboot featuring Kermit and the gang.

It's time to play the music. It's time to light the lights. It's time to meet "The Muppets" for the first time in over 10 years. Everyone's favorite felt friends are back in a big-screen reboot brought to life mostly on behalf of the hard work of lifelong Muppet fan Jason Segel.

The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. (You can see our own rave here.) Critics have praised the return of the Muppets as fun, warm, family-friendly fare, true to the characters and the fans who have loved them for decades.

The Story
"A clever idea holds this reboot together, as simple as making one brother (Gary, played by Segel) human and the other (Walter, voiced by Peter Linz) a Muppet in love with the Muppets legacy. (He sports a Kermit wristwatch.) The locale is Smalltown, USA, which Gary and Walter introduce to us in the opening number, 'Life's a Happy Song.' Gary, his schoolteacher sweetheart Mary (Amy Adams) and Walter journey to Los Angeles for a vacation. Touring the old Muppet Studios facility, the trio learn of the plan to raze the historically significant and sentimentally priceless structure. There's oil under the ground, see, and the weaselly millionaire (Chris Cooper) after it doesn't give a Gonzo's patoot about nostalgia. To preserve the old homestead the visitors must gather together the Muppets from various locales and raise $10 million in a save-the-Muppets telethon." — Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune

The Songs
"The setup works like a charm. So do the songs, with several new ones by ["Flight of the Conchords"] star Bret McKenzie. Adams rocks out on 'Me Party.' And Segel's heartfelt ballad 'Man or Muppet?' deserves Academy attention as the movie song of the year." — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

The Comeback
"As a theatrical troupe, the Muppets haven't exactly been AWOL these past dozen years; the gang rocked YouTube in 2009 with their kick-ass rendition of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' But they've certainly been lying low while our twitchy, tweet-y times have favored snarkier, more air-quote-driven entertainment, even from puppets. And in a way, that showbiz hiatus has worked in favor of The Muppets. For adults, the movie's gentle, clever, unironic humor feels freshly, trendily retro now, enhanced by laughs provided in cameos from a very up-to-date roster of stars." — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

The Muppets
"These are the same old, adorable Muppets, as sweetly innocent and likable as ever. Winking at itself, the movie is casually, amusingly self-reflexive. In one joke Kermit the Frog considers telephoning President Carter. 'The Muppets' makes no attempt to match the wisecracking hipness of the 'Shrek' movies. If it doesn't provoke belly laughs, it elicits many affectionate chuckles." — Stephen Holden, The New York Times

The Final Word
"The remarkable thing about the Muppets, then and now, is what distinctive personalities and presences they have. When 'The Muppet Movie,' the first in the series, came out in 1979, there was astonishment that — ohmigod! — Kermit was riding a bicycle! How could a Muppet do that? Today, characters can do anything in the movies, but these Muppets are still played by Muppeteers,

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