The Muppets

Muppet Blues – ★★★½

Kermit’s getting the band back together for one more gig in this sentimental Muppet-filled extravaganza.

The story opens with Walter (a Muppet) and Gary (just about a man – Jason Segel) who are unlikely brothers, a factor that is never properly explained I might add. Walter gives us the spiel of never fitting in, then he discovers The Muppets and becomes their number 1 fan. When Gary heads off to L.A. with his girlfriend of ten years (Amy Adams) he surprises Walter with a third ticket and with the ensuing road trip the film finally kicks into action.

The Muppet studio has basically become a shack and left to fall into disrepair just like the stuffed ping-pong eyed creatures themselves. Statler and Waldorf provide the plot twist whereby Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) is planning to tear down the theatre and drill for oil. The film then pretty much turns into The Blues Brothers with Kermit taking on the role of Jake and Elwood as he gets the gang back together for one last show. [Interesting side note - Frank Oz was the original voice for Miss Piggy (now done by Eric Jacobson) and had a cameo role in The Blues Brothers as Jake's parole officer.]

| o | - It aint easy...

The film is full of brilliant jokes. From terrible one liners to physical comedy and self-referencing adult humour for the parents and those of us who remember the various incarnations of the TV show. The musical numbers are all very good, most notably Man or a Muppet and Me Party which is no doubt due to one half of the writing team of Flight of the Conchords, Brett McKenzie.

The main question though is: are the Muppets still relevant in today’s world? Sesame Street seems to have the market cornered on kids puppets but they rarely venture into the world of film leaving that to the Muppets.

While I enjoyed the film immensely I wondered if children would get enough from the antics of the Muppets as 90% of the jokes would be over their heads. With all kid films we must have a message, here it’s that “everyone is special and has their own unique talent”. This is laid on pretty thick and might have worked better if stated a little more subtly.

USA  /  James Bobin  /  Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller  /  Starring: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, Zach Galifianakis  /  103mins  /  Comedy  /  Release: 23 November 2011 (US/Canada), 10 February 2012 (UK/Irl)

Fingers crossed Sinead O’Connor is oscar-nominated next week

Sinead O'Connor - now usually described in the media as "troubled singer Sinead O'Connor"

Why is no one talking about the fact that Ireland’s tabloid-darling Sinead O’Connor is on the longlist for the oscar for Best Original Song, and almost certain to be nominated? O’Connor performs “Lay your head down” on the soundtrack for Albert Nobbs, which sees Glenn Close playing a woman passing as a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland.

The song has already been nominated for Best Song at the Golden Globes, losing out to Madonna’s “Masterpiece” from W.E., but won the Satellite award last November. Lyrics for the song are by Glenn Close with Brian Byrne composing, suggesting that if it were nominated we may be denied seeing Sinead perform at the show. This isn’t unusual though, last year a pregnant Dido was replaced by Florence Welch for the performance of “If I Rise” from 127 Hours.

Because Madonna’s song didn’t play until midway through the W.E. credits, it means it is not eligible for the Oscars. I think this means the main competition will come from Flight of the Conchords’ Brett McKenzie for his songs from The Muppets.

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