This Friday, Skip The Shopping And Go See “The Muppets”

The day after Thanksgiving: when everyone feels the need to go shopping. Black Friday bears a striking resemblance to George Romero’s Dawn of The Dead: hordes of mindless shambling zombies descend upon the local mall, making life a living nightmare for the few remaining uninfected survivors. Traditionally, I’ve spent Black Friday holed up in my house, sealed off from the outside world, waiting for the contagion to burn itself out. But if you must flee the safe confines of your home, do yourself and the kids a favor and go check out The Muppets.

The movie hit the theaters this past Wednesday, and it’s a treat: a funny and sweet reunion/reboot of The Muppet Show. Jason Segel (who co-wrote the film) stars as Gary, who’s inspired by his Muppet brother Walter (no, this is no explained, and if you thought having the “where do babies come from” talk with your 7-year-old was difficult, try having the “why does he have a Muppet brother?” discussion) to find Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the old Muppet Show gang back together to save the Muppet Theater from the clutches of a greedy oil baron, played by Chris Cooper. The film’s a full-blown musical, with songs written by Flight of The Conchords’ Bret McKenzie – fans of that band and their HBO show will definitely appreciate the movie’s tunes, especially the “Am I A Man Or Am I A Muppet” number. And the obligatory celebrity cameos from earlier Muppet flicks are a fun part of this one – keep an eye out for Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl.

The Muppets is definitely aimed at those of us who have fond memories of the old TV show; I was concerned going into it that it would be a nostalgia trip, one that would go over the heads of my two kids who’ve never seen an episode. (I know – I’m a bad Child Of The 80′s Turned Parent.) I needn’t have worried. They enjoyed about 99% of it; my son cringed during the “kissy parts”, and a modem joke that I won’t spoil here went over his head. And it was refreshing, after being bombarded with previews for the latest 3D CGI garbage like Happy Feet 2, to have both of my kids ask me to get the old Muppet Show on DVD. Cyber Monday, here I come.

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