A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
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What's the story?
In THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN, Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo are all graduating from the same regional college together. Riding high on the success of their senior variety show "Manhattan Melodies," a confident Kermit decides they should take their production to Broadway. They arrive in New York, but an enthusiastic producer turns out to be a crook and they decide to temporarily disband. When the son (Lonny Price) of a legitimate showman decides to stage "Manhattan Melodies," a new crisis arises -- Kermit has amnesia. Unbeknownst to his friends, he's working at an all-frog advertising agency, and the show can't go on without him. Most of these silly complications provide the lightweight excuse to do full-fledged all-singing, all-dancing musical numbers in grand old-fashioned style, culminating in the wedding (!) of Kermit and Piggy, a development that no subsequent Muppet movies have acknowledged.
Is it any good?
This is sort of a redo of the original The Muppet Movie, showing how the bunch all broke into show business, though with a different and fresh orientation and energy that never lets down. It's done in the zesty spirits of the old Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland "let's put on a show" musicals that poured out of MGM.
Humor here is expertly pitched to all age groups. Adults will notice the prominence of a Muppet rat named Rizzo, a nod to Dustin Hoffman's role in a more sordid portrayal of Manhattan life, Midnight Cowboy. For kids the reference slides safely past. The movie uses its setting in clever and consistently amusing ways. When the hopeful Muppet troupe arrives, they set up residence in bus station storage lockers. Also, during their disillusionment with NYC, they discover the restaurants are full of rats -- Muppet rats who cook and serve the food.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way that the Muppets get along, despite being "a frog, a bear, a pig and a ...whatever" (referring to Gonzo). Parents can emphasize multiculturalism, even the idea of New York City as a melting pot of diverse races over the years. But don't make it too heavy -- it's a Muppet show, after all!
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