5-Word 365 #279 – The Muppets Take Manhattan

Friday again. As this year goes on, the weeks seem to rattle by faster and faster.

The Muppets Take Manhattan

Less anarchic, and less funny.

After graduating from college, Kermit and the gang decide to take their show, Manhattan Melodies, to Broadway. When things don’t go quite as planned, everybody leaves town to get a real job while Kermit stays to pursue his dream. With help from a waitress named Jenny and a bunch of new, ratty friends (including a certain Rizzo) can Kermit become a star? Hijinks ensue.

Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Jason Segel’s big-screen revival movie, but try as I might, I just couldn’t get into this film. The story is the old “let’s put on a show” staple, which I have no problem with, but I miss the free-wheeling insanity of The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper. This film just seems oddly staid in comparison. There’s no big villain plotting against our heroes, and no real goal they have to achieve; they’re putting on the show just because they want to be on Broadway.

The biggest legacy of The Muppets Take Manhattan is probably the introduction of the Muppet Babies in a Miss Piggy dream sequence (was it a dream sequence or a flashback?). Like a lot of my generation, my first taste of The Muppets was from the long-running Muppet Babies cartoon, which was the highlight of my Saturday mornings back in the mid-eighties. It was a little weird at first to see the Babies as live-action (as it were) instead of animation, but soon enough the nostalgia took over.

The Band on the road. When are The Electric Mayhem getting their own movie? That’s what I want to know.

As for the cameos, there were a few that went right over my head to be honest, but the ones I recognised were fun, particularly Gregory Hines and Dabney Coleman. Speaking of recognising, it took me a minute to realise that Joan Rivers was Joan Rivers. I think she’s had some work done since then.

Ultimately, The Muppets Take Manhattan is reasonably entertaining when looked at entirely on its own, but taken as part of the franchise, it comes off less favourably.

3 comments

  1. mistylayne · October 6, 2012

    Awww, I loved this movie when I was a kid. Although I haven’t seen it in forever. And now I don’t want to rewatch it, I’d rather hold on to the memories. 😉

    • Ryan McNeely · October 6, 2012

      Well it might still work for you, if you have that nostalgia to fall back on. There are lots of crap movies from my childhood that I still enjoy 🙂

  2. Morgan R. Lewis · October 7, 2012

    I still enjoy The Muppets Take Manhattan but it was and still is my least favorite of the original three Muppet movies. Like you say, it’s not as wild or as funny as the others, and the plot isn’t as interesting. Of course, I’m not a big Broadway fan, so an extended homage to Broadway doesn’t work as well for me — I’ve sometimes wondered how it would be received by someone who is a big Broadway fan.

    When Muppet Babies came out, I was at probably precisely the wrong age — old enough that my introduction had come through the actual Muppet Show, and young enough to have a sister who wanted to watch Muppet Babies every Saturday morning. It was… OK, I guess… but I was never quite able to get rid of the feeling that it was an abomination.

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

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