Muppets From Space Movie Review

The thing I've always liked best about Muppet movies isall the pop culture sight gags that send adults laughing over the backsof their chairs while the kids sitting next to them just giggle at theMuppets because they're the Muppets.

"Muppets From Space" has more of these over-the- heads- of- babes gags than any of its predecessors, and while thestory -- about hook-nosed, species-unknown Gonzo searching the stars forhis origins -- only moves forward in clumsy fits and starts, when the plotstalls out, the gaps are filled with funny, funny stuff.

After opening credits accompanied by a laughably ominousspace opera score, the story begins with a dream sequence in which Gonzois turned away from Noah's Ark because there's only one of him. As therain starts pouring down, Noah (F. Murray Abraham in a cameo) hands hima small umbrella and wishes him luck.

Gonzo wakes up and the movie starts in earnest when hisalphabet breakfast cereal suddenly spells out a message from his extraterrestrialbrethren. Of course, Kermit, Piggy, Rizzo the Rat and the rest of the gangthink he's nuts.

(All the Muppets are in the film somewhere, but the focusis mostly on these few and Pepe the Prawn, who I'd never seen before andhe had me in stitches.)

So Gonzo feels outcast. He sighs heavily and stares atthe stars. He mows "I AM HERE" in his lawn, hoping it will bespotted from space. He is interviewed and dismissed on a public accessUFO show by Miss Piggy as a ruthlessly ambitious amateur journalist, reminiscentof saccharine-sweet and deadly Nicole Kidman in "To Die For."

But there is one person who does believe he's from outerspace -- the invasion-paranoid head of a covert government operation (JeffreyTambor) trying obsessively and overzealously to prove that aliens, anyaliens he can find, threaten national security. When he gets his handson Gonzo, it's up to the Muppets to save him.

Sci-fi spoofs are, of course, everywhere in "MuppetsFrom Space." When a Cult of Gonzo springs up, one of the members makesa mashed potato bust of the beaked freak, a la "Close Encounters,"and more recent genre giants like "Independence Day" get piesin the face as well.

Prison movie jokes get plenty of play, too, when Rizzo(Gonzo's best friend) gets captured by the baddies and used in lab experiments.The lab cage tough guy exercises by using mousetraps for bench-pressingand Rizzo escapes through a hole in his cage hidden behind of poster ofthe "Mice Girls" (think "The Shawshank Redemption").

Constant little laughs like that and a parade of hilariouscameos (Piggy seduces a security guard played with hammy aplomb by RayLiotta and Animal scores with Kathy Griffin) keep this Muppet movie movingforward until it fizzles out in the last act with a huge, out-of-the-blueand wildly out-of-place production number, followed by the obligatory,overt Sunday school lesson about accepting people for who they are.

This message itself isn't the problem -- kids movies tradeon this stuff -- but "Muppets From Space" was having so muchfun up to this point, the filmmakers just plum forgot to include it, sothe Golden Rule stuff is driven home bluntly and quickly after the moviehas run out of steam.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Starring : The Muppets (performed by Frank Oz, , , Bill Barretta), , Cameos by F.Murray Abraham, , , , , , , , , ,


Comments

Muppets From Space Rating

" OK "

Rating: G, Wednesday, July 14, 1999

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