Magazine article The Spectator

Cinema It's Not Easy Being Green

Magazine article The Spectator

Cinema It's Not Easy Being Green

Article excerpt

The Muppets U, Nationwide The Muppet Show was my favourite TV programme when I was growing up, but this film, the first in over a decade? Not so much, even though it is fun in parts. I liked it terrifically at the beginning, and loved seeing Kermit again, and Miss Piggy, with her 'pork chop' ('Hi-yah!') and Gonzo and Fozzie Bear and Animal, because they are all such distinct personalities, and have such presence, and when I heard the theme tune for the first time in years - 'It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights, it's time to meet the Muppets on The Muppet Show tonight . . . ' - I felt I might actually burst with happiness, although luckily I didn't.

(Last time I burst with happiness, it was hell to get out of the carpets, and even splashed the curtains. ) But, in trying to appeal to my generation and today's kiddywinks who are new to it all, it ultimately falls between the two stools before opting to veer towards the latter, after which it becomes the cloyingly predictable film it had set out to undercut. I'm just saying I was a little disappointed, that's all, and that it's a bit of a shame, although, with hindsight, it's good I didn't burst with happiness. (You can Febreze like a mad thing, but the smell will still linger for ages. ) This Muppets was devised and co-written by Jason Segel, a comedian of the Apatow school who starred in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and lobbied Disney (which bought the franchise from the Jim Henson Company in 2004) for this revival, a comeback movie about a comeback. Segel, who, from some angles, looks rather like Piers Morgan (I thought I should warn you of this, in case you are of a nervous disposition, or are planning to eat afterwards), stars as Gary, a sort of man-child from SmallTown, USA, who has a girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), and a brother, Walter. Walter is a Muppet.

Why Walter is a Muppet and Gary is not is never explained, perhaps because it would break one of the most important Muppet rules: humans must never identify Muppets as Muppets and Muppets must never self identify as Muppets. This is crucial.

Anyway, the trio are galvanised when, on a trip to the now-abandoned Muppet Theatre in LA, they discover that Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), a Texan rich man, has plans to raze it to the ground and drill for oil underneath. …

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