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