THE MUPPETS (Rated PG for very mild rude humor): Oh, come now, you wouldn't expect me to dis this rebooting of the lovable gang that hasn't been heard from since it hibernated in 1984, would you? It would be like taking a baseball bat to a butterfly.
Actually, it would be hard to dislike the cleverness used in updating those charming PBS felt puppets with the renewed & enormous amount of enthusiasm & earnestness they display in this nostalgic wallowing.
Written by Jason Segal and directed by James Bobbin - both of whom have been chafing at the bit to reinvigorate Jim Henson's waning creations - the results are almost more captivating as a glance back than they might have been while still in the public's eye for nearly three decades.
It's a simple formulaic story with Gary (Jason Segel) taking his friend Mary (Amy Adams) on a sentimental trip to visit the old studio where their shows used to be made. They are accompanied by Gary's muppet brother Walter (don't ask; we just take for granted the possibility) accompanies the two humans. Finding the studio badly in need of repair, the trio sets out to collect Kermit, Miss Piggy ("Moi?" - "Oui, vous!") & the other Muppets to put on an extravaganza in hopes of raising enough money to resuscitate the theatre and save it from the clutches of a greedy oil baron Tex Richman (Chris Cooper). In the "Let's put on a show" tradition they surmount every possible obstacle, do the show in grand style and - well, do I have to spell out the happy ending?
OK, the movie is 100% zippy, pure sugar coated delight. Even without Henson & Frank Oz, the sincerity & earnestness of everyone copying their original intentions, along with Bret MacKdenzie's catchy songs, the joy of seeing so many familiar members of the Muppet family - Gonzo, Fozzy Bear, & more) - join in, and the addition of finding cameo roles played by real actors - Jack Black, et al - one can't help but feel that, well, once in a while, it's sheer bliss to kick around with some lovable old friends for 110-minutes and come away feeling that maybe - just maybe - this might prompt a return to what real, involving comedy is all about. (Grade: A-)