A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie is a made-for-TV movie originally released in 2002. This homage to the classic film It's a Wonderful Life casts Kermit the Frog as a Muppet George Bailey, who, after the funds to save the Muppet Theater are lost, wishes he'd never been born. Cartoon slapstick and pratfalls are a big part of the humor, including a Muppet-versus-human karate battle. There's also a scene where a Muppet walks through lasers that scorch his "fur." This movie includes two Muppet kisses and some mild potty talk (one "butt" and one "peepee"). One Muppet drinks something that might be alcohol at a Christmas party and passes out, several commercial films and TV programs are referenced by content (although not by name), and the NBC peacock logo is shown once.
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What's the story?
In IT'S A VERY MERRY MUPPET CHRISTMAS MOVIE, the banker who held the lease on the Muppets' use of the Muppet Theater has died, and his widow, the greedy Mrs. Bitterman, will stop at nothing to evict the Muppets so she can redevelop the property. Kermit and his pals agree to pool their resources -- even contributing their own salaries -- to come up with the money they need to deliver by 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and Fozzie Bear braves numerous obstacles (some erected by Bitterman and others being hilariously random) to get that money to the bank. When he fails in his task, Kermit feels all hope is lost and that he was foolish to encourage his friends to follow their dreams. He tells a stranger that he wishes he'd never been born. Just as in the classic original It's a Wonderful Life, the stranger turns out to be sent from heaven to show Kermit that, "No man is a failure who has friends."
Is it any good?
The Muppets provide almost universally reliable entertainment, and with It's a Wonderful Life as inspiration, this made-for-TV movie is not only funny and smart, it's also very heartwarming. This charming movie benefits from top-notch acting (including Joan Cusack as a wonderfully comic villain and Whoopi Goldberg as God), and from the Muppets films' trademark clever cameos and references to other popular entertainment -- in this case, all Christmas-y. It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie gives parents a fun, and shorter, way to introduce youngsters to the It's a Wonderful Life story, and the whole family will be amused.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the message of this movie. What does Kermit learn from seeing what the world would have been like if he'd never been born?
Did you catch the references to TV shows and other movies? Name the ones you noticed.
If you liked this movie, see the original: It's a Wonderful Life.
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