The thing about The Muppets is that it plays on things from the past as well as things in the now. Kids, who are the target audience for this Disney release, were not alive in the heyday of the Muppets. The Muppets television show ran from 1976 through 1981, although some of the characters appeared on the tube in the late-60s (Sesame Street), and even earlier with Rowlf the Dog playing keyboards as a cast member on the Jimmy Dean Show (1963).
The current incarnation of Muppetmania will please a non-discriminating audience with its combo of puppetry, cute songs (the film is loaded with them) and occasional fart jokes. Jason Segal (who also co-wrote the script) and Amy Adams play the main second-banana humans. Adams in particular has a great solo song-dance number while she’s eating alone in a diner. As a concession to oldsters we see cameos from the likes of Mickey Rooney. Supporting roles are also played by Chris Cooper and Rashida Jones. Kids need not worry, because the film’s jam packed with youthful cameos too, like Selena Gomez. “I don’t know who you guys are but my agent told me to show up.”
The narrative is not even worth mentioning because its resolution just happens nonchalantly with no care for the structure other than as a template to sing, dance and crack wise. There’s a televised marathon involved and the outcome determines whether the Muppets can remain in their original studio. The Muppets isn’t a film you attend for the plot so much as the kitsch.
– Michael Bergeron