The Muppets 2011 ★★★

After a series of increasingly awful movies (Their Wizard of Oz is very close to my bottom ten of all time) the Muppets return to their roots. Along for the ride are Amy Adams, Jason Segel and Jack Black (who is very funny as the reluctant celebrity guest host).

Schmaltz and sentimentality are important parts of the Muppet experience, and in this restart of the franchise a lot of the movie is built around the expectation that the Muppets are beloved, but forgotten by the public. The moviemakers want the joy of rediscovery to be foremost in the audience's minds, and this is peppered with a thin narrative, a couple of Oscar-quality songs and the occasional GREAT gag.

It's a very clever package, but I have a feeling that the generation or two who've grown up since the Muppets' heyday would appreciate more of the anarchy and madness of the original series. And TRUE muppet fans (like me) who've watched the old shows quite recently will wonder why there isn't more Swedish Chef madness, Monsters feeding on each other, Beaker being tortured and Gonzo torturing himself. All the sentimentality feels a bit hollow without the insanity.

Great versions of "Smells like Teen Spirit" and "Fuck You", though.

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