The first musical number in THE MUPPETS (2011) immediately put me in mind of the old Busby Berkeley movies of yore, and you can hardly imagine my glee at the cameo appearance of Mickey Rooney, who starred with Judy Garland in two Busby Berkeley musicals, during “Life’s a Happy Song“! The old-fashioned musical style is paired beautifully with the nostalgic theme of the movie.
When brothers Walter and Gary visit the old Muppet Show studio, Walter accidentally discovers that a big deal oil baron wants to tear down the studio to drill for oil. In order to save the studio, Walter must work with his hero, Kermit the Frog to reunite the Muppets and put on a huge show to raise the money to buy back the studio! Sounds strikingly similar to BABES IN ARMS (1939) and STRIKE UP THE BAND (1940), doesn’t it?
Don’t dismiss THE MUPPETS for being a little hokey. That’s part of their shtick. They take the schmaltz to the extreme so that they can turn it around into something terribly funny. This grade of self-mockery has the uncanny ability to endear a cynical 21st century audience to a gaggle of puppets from the 70s! The ability for audiences to yield to the inexorable charm of THE MUPPETS is a testament to their enduring appeal to all ages. This is definitely a movie to add to your collection, especially if you have children (but children are not compulsory).