The Muppet Movie Movie Review

Like most movies of its year, The Muppet Movie looks (and is) really dated. But it's worth it to willingly suspend disbelief at how dated it is --- to appreciate the good-natured humor and comedic flair of Jim Henson. Henson tried to entertain both kids and adults, and though both audiences were probably easier to please in the days before all comedy became irony-soaked, Henson was one of the first to add sly postmodern touches. And while the movie promotes the annoying myth of Hollywood as the dream factory, magic store, etc. it more than makes up for it by borrowing comedians from several generations, from then-new comics like Steve Martin and Elliott Gould to veterans like Bob Hope and Orson Welles(!), for an endless string of cameo appearances.

The plot loosely follows the odyssey of Kermit the Frog from his swamp home to Hollywood in search of celebrity. The desirability of fame and stardom is never questioned. The Hollywood worship becomes pretty maudlin at the end, thanks mainly to songwriter Paul Williams, whose songs are palatable at first ("Rainbow Connection" was a hit) but become too much before the end of the movie.

What saves the movie is the Getting There, as Henson sends Kermit on a tongue-in-cheek tour through America, passing and poking fun at many cinematic clichés. (Of course, the subsequent explosion of road-trip movies makes the whole thing a cliché now, but that's OK.) The cameos are fun to watch and a pleasant reminder of Hollywood's veneration for its past... Edgar Bergen judging a small-town beauty pageant where Miss Piggy first appears, Milton Berle as a used-car salesman, and Martin as a rude restaurant waiter ("Sir, would you like to smell the bottle cap?").

They make a lot of road-trip movies now, but I still like this one the best.


Comments

The Muppet Movie Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: G, 1979

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