We made a rare trip to the movie theater to see how some old friends were holding up. I'm happy to report: pretty well.
Like all the Muppets genre, the movie is set in an interesting parallel universe where humans live in peaceful coexistence with a separate species of odd, but intelligent and (literally) colorful creatures. They are seemingly fabric-based life forms. Some are ordinary animals (frogs, pigs, bears, dogs, even humans); others not. They neither age nor grow. They are (ortunately for lab assistant Beaker) seemingly indestructible. Maybe immortal? That would be nice.
Also, in this parallel universe, the inhabitants break into song-and-dance numbers every so often. (Although that happens in human-only movies too. So maybe that's a third universe.)
The story here involves two brothers: fabric-based Walter and fleshy Gary. (I'm not quite sure how that works either.) They grow up together—well, only Gary grows—in a dinky town. Walter is loved, but becomes deeply aware of his differentness. His only connection to his cloth brethren is in watching The Muppet Show; understandably, he's a huge fan.
Flash-forward to the present day: Gary and Walter plan a trip to L.A. to visit the fabled Muppets Theater, with Gary's beautiful girlfriend Mary. They find, instead, a decaying monument to a group that's no longer popular. Worse, a shady baron, Tex Richman, is plotting to acquire the theater and drill for oil! Walter, Gary, and Mary resolve to reunite the Muppets for a last desperate try to save their old building and regain their popularity.
It's a lot of fun, I had a great time, and I hate to quibble, but… well, actually come to think, I must not hate quibbling since I do it so much, but: for a long-time fan, it's clear that neither Jim Henson or Frank Oz are prime movers here. The differences aren't bad, but they're there.
The human actors range from "pretty good" to "darn wonderful". Mary is played by Amy Adams, and it's a pity that there aren't more roles available for "beautiful musical comedy heroine", because she was born to do that kind of thing. Jason Segal as Gary displays previously-unseen singing and dancing skills, and turns out to be pretty good in a non-filthy comedy role. (He was also key in getting the movie made in the first place.) Oscar-winning actor Chris Cooper is wonderful as Tex, and he seems to have had a great time. There are a pile of human cameos, some shockingly good.
During one musical number, I thought: hey, this sounds like something from Flight of the Conchords. As it turns out, a number of the movie songs were written by Bret McKenzie, one of the guys. And the are a lot of other commonalities.