NOV. 22, 2011 -- In the mood for a classic this holiday season? Dump the Dickens and opt for "The Muppets," starring Jason Segel ("How I Met Your Mother"), Amy Adams ("The Office," "Enchanted"), and the whole Muppet gang, in theaters Wednesday, Nov. 23.
Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie and the gang are reunited when Gary (Segel, who was also a writer and producer for the film) and his girlfriend, Mary (Adams), travel to Los Angeles with Gary's brother, Walter (voiced by Peter Linz). It quickly becomes apparent that Walter—a Muppet who has spent his life trying to fit into Smalltown, USA—just doesn't quite belong. Walter is fixated on the Muppets he watched on television as a child, so Gary and Mary turn their anniversary vacation into a pilgrimage to Muppet Studios in Hollywood. Unfortunately, the studios are in ruin, abandoned by their once-famous proprietor, Kermit the Frog. Worse yet, an evil oil baron (played by Missouri native Chris Cooper), plans to buy the once-famous studio to drill for oil, unless Gary, Mary and Walter can raise $10 million by the oil baron's deadline. The three set out to find Kermit the Frog and the other Muppets and save Muppet Studios.
"Gen Xers" will appreciate this throwback and its retro nod to the Muppets' early days. Children will enjoy all the same things their parents did as kids—Gonzo's daredevil antics, Fozzie's lame jokes, and lots of explosions. The introduction of a new character, '80s Robot, and classics like an updated performance of "Rainbow Connection," are sure to make moms and dads feel like kids again. The movie also features a list of cameos from big screen and small. 'Tweens will squeal when they see Selena Gomez ("Wizards of Waverly Place"), and grown-ups will be roaring with laughter at Emmy award-winning Jim Parsons' ("Big Bang Theory") patent dry wit as the man within the Muppet.
The movie becomes a little heavy with the "Where Are They Now?" storyline, though Kermit's confrontation with Miss Piggy in Paris is a highlight of the flick. The pink diva has never been more stylish. "The Muppets" also has a slow beginning, which is difficult for younger children to endure.
"The Muppets" is rated PG. While the language is family-friendly, there is some mild violence typical of Muppet movies. That said, Jack Black taking a swing at a woman during an anger management class seemed a little gratuitous for a family movie.
Pixar's newest short, "Small Fry," runs immediately before "The Muppets." It takes viewers into the world of the often-overlooked children's meal toy.
Photos courtesy of Walt Disney Studios. Top, Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter. Bottom: Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog are re-united.