The Muppets

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

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.

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

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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; OK 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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Written byAnonymous February 12, 2015
age 6+
 

Heartwarming muppets movie is very funny and cute

My rating:PG for rude humor
Parent of a 3 and 5 year old Written byMamaWu August 13, 2012
age 4+
 

Overall, a great family movie which we plan to see again!

After reading all of the reviews, I was hesitant to let my 3 year old watch it with his 5 yo sibling. I decided to give it a try, prepared to fast forward through parts if necessary. I could have done without the first Jack Black scene, which ended in people (not puppets) punching each other. Other than that, my kids were not scared of the villains and we all enjoyed the music throughout the movie. There is a word here and there that we aren't allowed to use ("idiot", maybe) but I have found even 'G' rated movies have those, unfortunately (i.e. Toy Story). Overall, a cute, feel-good movie
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written bymkap April 8, 2012
age 2+
 

Don't Fear the Muppets

I love this movie, and so do my kids (ages almost 2 and 3 and a half). I want to address the minority of commenters who managed to find objectionable content in this beautiful movie. There are three or four punches thrown over the course of the movie, none of them graphic or disturbing. The villains are not scary - they're muppets, after all. A few people mentioned a scene where Walter (a muppet) tries to go over a fence that turns out to be electrified- this scene lasts about 4 seconds and is not disturbing, resulting only in some shaking, bad hair, a dirty face, and a somewhat dazed muppet who sits up immediately and is obviously not hurt. Unless you have scared your kid in advance by explaining the real effects of a real electrified fence (something I do not advise unless you live on a farm or a high security top secret laboratory), this is not a scary scene. Most mystifying to me is the commenter who objects to a song "Forget Me", asking "Do you want your kids humming that song?" My first thought was "Huh?" because I didn't recognize the song, even after seeing the movie multiple times. The song in question is sung by a group of muppet chickens, and here are the lyrics: "Buck buck buck buck buck buck, bucka buck buck buck (i.e., they sing it in chicken-ese). I don't know what the real lyrics are, but they are not in the movie, at all. In the plus column, the movie has catchy, witty songs, hilarious 80's nostalgia for the grownups, and good messages about friendship, loyalty, believing in yourself, and yes, electrified fences.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism
Educator and Parent Written byhii! December 5, 2011
age 18+
 

BAD

BAD
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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