The Muppets

  • Review Date: November 23, 2011
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Muppet comedy offers memorable laughs, musical numbers.
  • Review Date: November 23, 2011
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Although the movie aims to entertain rather than educate, there's a worthwhile lesson in teamwork and trying your best to make a difference. Kids unfamiliar with the Muppets will also learn about the characters' history and the years they spent on television with famous guest hosts.

Positive messages

The characters' hard work on their big show provides positive messages about collaboration, teamwork, encouragement, and being proud of doing your best, no matter what happens in the end. The Muppets also have really strong friendships, and Walter and Gary are good examples of siblings who work together instead of tear each other down.

Positive role models

Walter is the Muppets' No. 1 fan and gives Kermit the encouragement necessary to believe in the Muppets again. Kermit leads his fellow Muppets to glory with his optimism and support. Gary is a really generous brother, but he also learns when to prioritize Mary and her needs. The main bad guy stays pretty bad, but his henchmen have their moments of redemption.

Violence & scariness

A big brawl breaks out in Animal's anger management class, with several tackles/punches thrown. Miss Piggy leads a stealth team of Muppets to kidnap Jack Black and keep him "hostage" in order to host the telethon. Gonzo engages in some death-defying stunts, and there are slapstick gags (including loud explosions) throughout the movie. The villain's henchmen are a little bit threatening; one looks pretty monstrous, and they both wield potential weapons at one point. A spoofy reality show within the movie is called Punch Teacher.

Sexy stuff

As always, Kermit and Piggy have a complicated romantic relationship. Gary and Mary hold hands, embrace, and kiss sweetly in one quick scene. Brief Muppet kissing.

Language

The words "butt," "idiot," and "oh God" are used a couple of times, and some swine humor is directed at Miss Piggy and another performing pig. Fozzie has "fart shoes."

Consumerism

Red Bull is displayed prominently in one scene, and a large poster for Cars 2 (also released by Disney) shows up more than once. Kermit drives around in a Rolls Royce chauffeured by an '80s robot. The robot tries to serve guests sodas from that decade, like Tab and New Coke. Miss Piggy works at Vogue in Paris. The Muppets have strong merchandising ties to toys, apparel, accessories, home decor, and -- of course -- their own programs and movies on DVD.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Muppets is as kid-friendly (and fun for adults) as all of the popular Jim Henson characters' early movies. Families familiar with the Muppet gang will know to expect a romantic subplot from Kermit and Miss Piggy, some slapstick stunts/humor courtesy of Gonzo, and silly jokes thanks to Fozzie the Bear. There's also one scene with a fist fight/brawl, some romance between human characters Gary and Mary, the words "butt" and "idiot," and some mild insults aimed at the Muppets. Expect a few noticeable product placements and tons of celebrity cameos.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter (voiced by Peter Linz) aren't just brothers; they're best friends. When Gary announces that Walter can come with him and his girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), on a trip to Los Angeles, Walter -- the Muppets' biggest fan -- immediately makes plans to visit the Muppets' studio. But when they get there, Walter discovers that an evil oil baron named Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans to tear down the now-crumbling studio for the oil underneath it. The only loophole is that the Muppets have one week to pay $10 million to buy back the building. Walter enlists Gary and Mary to track down Kermit (Steve Whitmire) and spur him to action. Kermit agrees that the only way to raise the money is to put on a show, so the four of them travel across the country (and beyond) to reunite Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, and all of the retired Muppets for one all-or-nothing telethon to save the studio.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

For many of today's parents, the Muppets are an immediate catalyst of nostalgia -- and they, along with all kids (whether they're already fans or are discovering Jim Henson's legendary creations for the first time) will delight in the reintroduction of everyone's favorite felt friends. Self-proclaimed puppet lover Segel lovingly depicts the story of the Muppets' biggest fan (clearly a stand-in for himself) and how one person's faith convinces Kermit and the gang to reunite. Kermit, as usual, is the heart of the story, but he's joined by the charming Walter, who -- as the newest addition to the Muppet family -- is a winning combination of funny, humble, and sweet. Segel and Adams make an adorable on-screen couple, and their ability to project innocent fun is irresistibly charming.

A series of celebrity cameos -- including everyone from The Devil Wears Prada's Emily Blunt to Whoopi Goldberg -- is a treat for grown-ups. The music mixes Muppet favorites like "Rainbow Connection" with catchy covers like "Forget You" and original songs written by Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie. Whether you're planning to relive your childhood, introduce your kids to the Muppets, or just see a movie together, THE MUPPETS is a joy for the entire family.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about sibling unity and teaming up to make a difference. How are Walter and Gary different than most on-screen brothers? What do the main characters learn about themselves during the movie?

  • Which characters in the movie are meant to be role models? How can you tell?

  • Do the Muppets still appeal to audiences of all ages? What makes them so popular? How are the actors' interactions with the Muppets different than movies that feature CGI creatures?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 23, 2011
DVD release date:March 20, 2012
Cast:Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Steve Whitmire
Director:James Bobin
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Friendship, Music and sing-along, Puppets
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild rude humor

This review of The Muppets was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old November 23, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

I went to the premire!

GREAT muppet movie! i am a huge muppet fan and ive seen every episode of the show, but this was great! approprate for all ages!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 3 and 7 year old Written byJenC November 23, 2011
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Awesome for kids and parents!

We won tickets to the premiere, and I took both our kids (7 and 3) without checking the rating. I'm glad I didn't check, because it would have made me worried about taking my little guy, and I honestly don't think there was anything in the movie that warranted a PG rating. I assume it's due to the mild violence, but really, it didn't worry me at all while watching. The kids enjoyed it a lot, but I think my husband and I loved it even more! A really happy, feel good movie for the whole family!
Adult Written byMKJacobs November 23, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Too scary for my kids

This movie was too scary for my four year old and six year old. The villains are very menacing (no one gets hurt, but one has an ax, another is sharpening a knife, there is a lot of punching in the face and mean threats). The humor was fun for my husband and me (lots of 80s references), but it felt like the movie was aimed at our generation of Muppet fans and not for young kids.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism

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