The Muppets

The Muppets

Jason Segel as Gary, Amy Adams as Mary and The Muppets as seen in THE MUPPETS, a film directed by James Bobin. © 2011 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Muppets (2011)

Also Known As: Green with Envy

Opened: 11/23/2011 Wide

Wide11/23/2011
AMC Loews Meth...11/23/2011 - 01/19/201258 days
Showcase Cinem...11/23/2011 - 01/12/201251 days
AMC Deer Valley11/23/2011 - 12/22/201130 days
Georgetown 1411/23/2011 - 12/20/201128 days
Columbia Park ...11/23/2011 - 12/20/201128 days
The Landmark11/23/2011 - 12/15/201123 days
Claremont 512/09/2011 - 12/15/20117 days
DVD03/20/2012

Trailer: Click for trailers

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Genre: Family Comedy

Rated: PG for some mild rude humor.

Synopsis

On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary's girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze Muppet Studios and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets' former stomping grounds. To stage a telethon and raise the $10 million needed to save the studio, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate. With a screenplay by Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller, the film is directed by James Bobin.

Muppet Fans Unite

Ranging in age from 8 to 80, Muppet fans span the globe. So it makes sense that Disney's "The Muppets" was ignited by a Muppet fan. "It started when I was a kid," says Jason Segel. "The Muppets were my first comic influence and I was in love with puppetry. I just thought it was an amazing art form."

"All comedy writers are Muppet fans," adds Nicholas Stoller. "It's the gateway to comedy. It's like the first thing you try and then you slowly fall down the rabbit hole of comedy."

A film Segel and Stoller previously collaborated on actually set things in motion, says Segel. "We ended 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' with a lavish puppet musical, and The Jim Henson Company designed the puppets. Something started growing in my belly, and Nick and I came up with this idea and pitched it to Disney. Disney liked the idea so we wrote the script."

Enter producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman--each with their own affinity to all things Muppets. "I think there's always been a timeless quality to the Muppets," says Hoberman, who cites the Muppets' recent online smash viral video "Bohemian Rhapsody." "These characters are as contemporary today as they were when Henson first brought them to life. I think people of all ages will respond to them on the big screen."

While president of the motion picture group at The Walt Disney Studios, Hoberman was behind releases like "The Muppet Christmas Carol" and "Muppet Treasure Island." Meanwhile, Lieberman's appreciation for the franchise grew from personal experience. "I have always been a big Muppet fan," says Lieberman. "There's clearly a nostalgic love. The characters are just inherently lovable and I'm thrilled that we're bringing them together again in this movie. It's been beautiful introducing them to my own children."

And that's a good thing, says director James Bobin. Disney's "The Muppets" will welcome a whole new generation into the world of the Muppets, and Bobin can attest to the positive influence these characters can have on young audiences. "I watched the Muppets at a very early age in England, and they have significantly influenced my sense of humor and what I find funny."

Segel says it's the Muppets' sense of humor that differentiates them. "Modern comedy makes jokes at other people's expense," says the actor, writer and executive producer. "The Muppets never make fun of anybody. They're all about being good and nice and trying to make the world a better place. It's easy to get a laugh out of making fun of somebody, but the Muppets never relied on that."

Introducing Walter

Influenced by their affinity for Muppet mayhem, filmmakers introduced a central character who's driven by his lifelong love of the Muppets. According to Jason Segel, Walter's wildest fantasy is to meet the Muppets. "Walter is naive, sweet, innocent, wide-eyed--he's very much like Kermit before Kermit became famous," says Segel. "But he just wants to belong. He's looking for a family, really. The Muppets are the only people he's ever seen who were like him, so his quest is to become one of the Muppets."

Adds Walter, who is as big a Muppet fan in real life as his character is, "I start out just wanting to meet the Muppets but then have to help Kermit get the gang back together to save Muppet Studios. It's the role of my lifetime. In fact, it is my life."

The movie opens in Smalltown, USA, home to Walter, brother Gary and his girlfriend, Mary. It's the kind of town where people smile a lot, give apples to teachers and break into song--just because. But the trio leaves the safety of Smalltown behind for a long-awaited trip to Hollywood--and an opportunity to visit Muppet Studios at last.

While there Walter overhears the evil plan of nefarious oil baron Tex Richman and finds himself navigating a long-awaited, never-imagined, can't-believe-it's-really-happening-to-me Muppet reunion. It's not long before the world's biggest Muppet fan is face to face with the heart of the Muppets--Kermit the Frog. "Kermit is my all-time hero," says Walter. "I have his poster in my room, I've seen everything he has ever done and meeting him was the greatest moment of my life."

Says Kermit, "Walter gets so excited being around the Muppets. I've never met anyone like him...except maybe Jason Segel."

Segel can certainly relate to Walter's enthusiasm, but his character, Gary, shows a little too much interest in his brother's Muppet dreams. His girlfriend Mary has her own California dreams, it turns out, and is secretly hoping for a marriage proposal during their vacation. But she is a team player and willingly jumps on board to help reunite the Muppets and save the studio.

They track down Kermit and learn that he's lived a quiet life since the Muppets last performed together. It takes some convincing to get the now low-key frog to agree to the plan, but once Kermit realizes just how much he misses his friends, it's "go" time.

"They embark on a huge journey around the world to find the rest of the Muppets who have gone their separate ways," says Bobin. "The first Muppet they find is Fozzie, who's performing with a Muppet tribute band called the Moopets. The Moopets are cynical characters who are taking advantage of the Muppets' legacy. They sing tacky versions of their songs and sadly, Fozzie is the only real Muppet who joined up with them. He's in a tribute band of his own group. It doesn't take too much persuading to get Fozzie to come along for the ride."

Next up is Gonzo, who has left show business behind in favor of his first career choice: plumbing. He is to plumbing what Tex Richman is to oil--minus the evil-villain part. But Gonzo's plumbing empire is no match for the lure of the stage, and he soon agrees to return to Muppet Studios and his daredevil act.

Perhaps the trickiest piece to the Muppet reunion is Miss Piggy, who's landed a posh gig in France as plus-size editor of Vogue Paris. She's enjoying the big life and doesn't exactly dream of reuniting with the Muppets--unless, of course, it's Kermie who's asking. But it's not all romance between them, says Miss Piggy. "The scene where Kermie begs me to come back to Hollywood with him is the funniest scene in the movie," she says. "I'm hilarious, and the frog isn't half bad either."

Back together at last, the Muppets must put together the best show of their lives--no small feat considering their past efforts. And it's been years since they last performed--rusty doesn't begin to describe their acts. Can they break through the obstacles and create a show of a lifetime? Can they convince a network to broadcast the show? Will they raise enough money to silence Tex Richman once and for all--or will he foil their efforts and destroy the studio despite everything?

"Well, see the movie and find out for yourself!" says Miss Piggy. "Moi can't do everything."

 

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