Director: Frank Oz
Original Release: 1984
Choice: Purple Penguin's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
I am in love with all things Muppet. Therefore, while I am willing to admit this is the weakest of the three original Muppet movies, my devotion to the franchise guarantees a rating of at least a 4. I don't think I'd seen the film since it was in theaters 30 years ago.
Kermit and his pals have just graduated from college. Their play was a huge hit on campus and they're keen to take it to Broadway. The early going is rough so the gang splits up for adventures around the country, not wanting Kermit to feel responsible for them. Our favorite frog is disappointed but stays in New York, eternally hopeful of finding a producer for the show. Along the way, we get the usual parade of celebrity cameos: Liza Minnelli, Gregory Hines, Dabney Coleman, Art Carney, Linda Lavin, Brooke Shields, Elliott Gould, Mayor Ed Koch and, particularly fitting this week, Joan Rivers.
This is definitely a movie for the faithful. I doubt anyone would say this was what turned them on to the Muppets. The writing is average and the human acting uninspired. There are moments of magic here and there. The Swedish Chef running a movie theater concession stand is the highlight for me. One scene with the Muppet principals as babies spawned an animated series - The Muppet Babies - that ran on Saturday mornings for seven years afterward. If you only know the felted gang from their most recent films and are eager to explore the vintage material, much better to start with 1979's The Muppet Movie or, even better, the old TV shows from the '70s.