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Movie Review: The Muppets

If you're looking for something for the whole family to do this holiday season, "The Muppets" is a marvelous choice. The return of Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang to the big screen means nostalgic comfort for adults and a rowdy fun time for kids.

It's wocka, wocka wonderful.

In a move of life imitating art, the Muppets are brought back together by Walter (the newest Muppet) who has been a lifelong fan of "The Muppet Show." Their longtime theater is to be torn down by a ruthless businessman (Chris Cooper). The Muppets must put on a telethon to save the facility.

There's a secondary story with Walter's very human looking brother, Gary (Jason Segel). The romance between Gary and the near perfect Mary (Amy Adams) takes a backseat to the Muppets.

Segel -- who co-wrote the script with Nicholas Stoller -- throws caution to the wind as he embraces the lunacy that is the Muppets. Adams turns in a solid performance but it doesn't compare to her work in a similar type film, "Enchanted."

What makes "The Muppets" work is director James Bobin. He guides the gang through the story using the same template that made the TV show so good. The fourth wall is broken as characters repeatedly reference being in a movie.

Bobin dots the film with big-name guest stars in cameo roles, just as in the series. The actors in the film often look both excited and a little hesitant to trade lines with a handful of cloth and cotton. Jack Black, who could very well be a living Muppet, seems the most comfortable.

One problem is Chris Cooper's performance. It borders on melodrama, which is acceptable considering the broad nature of the movie franchise. It's his rap number that's the most embarrassing film moment.

That's just a small problem with what is a triumphant return of the Muppets to the big screen. Absence has made the heart grow fonder for these characters.

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