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I distinctly remember seeing "Muppets Take Manhattan" in the movie theater
when I was 8 years old--following the film, I immediately demanded that my
parents purchase the soundtrack LP (yes, on vinyl!). I loved this movie
then; I love it still.
Actually, it's my favorite among the first three, classic Muppet films; "Muppet Movie" is great but overlong, while "Great Muppet Caper" is terrific, but seems a bit dated now. "Muppets Take Manhattan," on the other hand, never fails to entertain me, still makes me laugh out loud (the purse-snatching scene; Kermit in his Bert Convy 'fro), and even tugs at my heartstrings.
What's particularly nice about this adventure is that it's an affectionate love letter to Hollywood musicals of yore, without being overly parodying. The musical comedy cliches are presented in a matter-of-fact manner; just as we were expected to suspend our disbelief when Ruby Keeler went out onstage a nobody but "came back a star!", we suspend our disbelief to encompass a group of talking animals putting together a big budget Broadway musical in 2 weeks. These kind of hoary plot devices are presented straight-faced, without any self-conscious "winking" or irony.
The songs are all pretty darn terrific; the show-stopping "Together Again" finale is as good as any contemporary musical number of the last 20 years or so, while "It's Time for Saying Goodbye" always puts a lump in my throat: it's sentimental without being maudlin. The finale, "He/She Makes Me Happy" goes from being sweet to comically over-the-top in less than 3 minutes, and it's a joy.
The expected parade of cameos work well within the structure, without being intrusive. My particular favorites are Liza Minnelli's (the whole Sardi's scene is wonderful), Linda Lavin's (another terrific comedy moment: "YOU are Mr. Enrico Tortellini of Passaic, New Jersey!"), and Joan Rivers' (another gem). The Muppet performers are their usual, endearing selves: lovable, warm, likable. The "love triangle" between Kermit, Piggy and the human Jenny plays surprisingly well, and Piggy's jealous reactions are hysterical.
These days, "family entertainment" usually means disgustingly white-washed pap that anyone over 10 or 11 would find either sedating or inane. (Disney's live action "101 Dalmations" and its sequel spring to mind.) The Muppet movies proved that a G-rated film could be intelligent, witty, funny and entertaining for all ages. It's a formula that has yet to be improved upon, and "The Muppets Take Manhattan" just might be the best example of it.
Throughout this film, you might think this film is just for kids. Well,
it is mainly pointed towards them, but it's also well-rounded enough
with the jokes pointed also at the adults in the audience. This time
around, the Muppet gang try to get on Broadway, with the dire straits
keeping them from getting it produced, leading them to splitting up.
But Kermit won't stop, and his determination keeps things moving along
until after getting the deal together he gets hit by a car and sent
It's a send-up, in part, of those old starring vehicles from the 40s with musicals actually as the topic of a musical, only here there's the usual lot of zaniness and wonderful moments thrown into a pot of hysterically funny moments (Lou Zealand's boomerang fish; Gonzo's water-stunt display, the whisper campaign, among many others), but also with a lot of heart too. The Muppet writers aren't shy of the conventions, on the contrary, they embrace them to the point where it's almost refreshing to see such a 'lets put on a show' story where through thick and think the characters will meet their dream.
While not as totally original in scope as the Muppet Movie, it's got many catchy and memorable songs, excellent locations all over Manhattan, and even some intonations of inter-species dating (and marriage)! Cameos include Liza Minneli ("a frog?"), Elliot Gould (as the cop), Brooke Shields (propositioned by a rat), Edward I. Koch, Gregory Hines and Joan Rivers. So get ready to sing-along, or just have a lot of big laughs and romantic (yes romantic) times with one of the best Muppet movies.
This is my least-favorite of the three Muppet movies of the Henson
There just isn't enough Muppets. Most of the gang leaves during
very beginning and it's all about Kermit, Piggy and Rizzo.
characters, yes, but without the whole wacky ensemble it's just not
same. That, and the film is kind of just reinforcing what happened
the original Muppet movie, only replacing Hollywood with
Don't get me wrong, it's an enjoyable movie, but it's not grade 'A' muppet material.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I first saw this film in the 1980's, I was in my middle teenage
years and somewhat reluctant to see this since I considered myself
grown up and out of the "Sesame Street/Muppets" age. I honestly don't
remember if I liked it at the time or not. However, somewhere in
college I watched this film again, and it wound up going (and staying)
into my personal Best Films Ever collection.
This film is LOADED with humor that goes far above and beyond what one would have expected from the Muppets. I mean, obviously the Muppets always have appealed to adults and children because there's humor geared towards both generations. But come on...Janice is accidentally overheard telling someone "I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it IS artistic"...there's a joke from a father to a son that if the son in love with Kermit the Frog then the father doesn't want to hear it...Gonzo saves a chicken with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (sp?) and afterwards says "I think we're engaged now"...these and plenty of other moments in the film had me rolling. Add to that very smart dialogue, very smart New York/Broadway "wink wink" humor, the usual large amount of celebrity cameos and some really enjoyable songs that don't border on "kid-level cheesy" whatsoever...this film is a masterpiece! I don't throw "10"'s out on a regular basis...but this one deserves it. Over 20 years later, this film totally holds up, perhaps even more so. The Muppets never were and never will be again, as funny and smart and just plain brilliant as this film was and is. ---Q
Very fun and impressive third Muppet movie has our heroes leaving college to make it big on Broadway in New York. Once again cameos and fun songs make up the film that re-captures the charm that "The Muppet Movie" had, but lost with "The Great Muppet Caper". There is also a little drama too though as Kermit gets in an accident and ends up suffering from a case of amnesia. Perfect for all audiences, the kiddies should gobble this one up with furious force. 4 stars out of 5.
Jim Henson's Muppets were a favorite of mine since childhood. This film makes me feel like a kid again. Okay, the Muppets are back with Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog and their friends. The premise is that they are trying to get on Broadway in a musical show in where else but New York City. You will see cameos by the then New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Anyway, the film turns 25 this year and I hope the kids of today will learn to appreciate the lightheartedness of the Muppets Gang. The problem with the show is Kermit goes missing and the gang has to find him in New York City. It's worth watching for kids and even sentimental adults like myself.
I was lucky enough to see this film countless times when I was a child. A few days ago while taking a break from college work I saw the movie on television and was really impressed by it. The film is excellent. Kermit and the gang are not only entertaining to children but also to adults. Children are entranced by the puppets and the humor is very well suited to adults. If you have children I recommend this film, there's singing, puppets, action, and Miss Piggy what else could be more entertaining and it beats being stuck with the teletubbies.
This is a rather enjoyable and harmless entertaining Muppet movie,
featuring most of the well known Muppets. It really isn't their best or
most memorable one though.
Lets face it and be honest here, this movie really isn't the greatest made or best written one. The only real reason that the movie still works out is thanks to the Muppets. The humor actually isn't that much good, since its mostly simply written and the events are predictable. Nevertheless the movie still manages to become funny because of the humorous and well known characters, that need no introduction.
For me it really was in this case Miss Piggy that makes the movie work out. Her character features by far the most humorous and enjoyable situations. Miss Piggy is basically a Muppet-favorite of every one! She is such a great and comical character. Also the idea alone that a grown up man, such as Frank Oz, is with his hand inside a silly looking pig and doing a very feminine voice is reason enough already to crack me up. I really respect the Muppet-performers and their timing and handling is always just great, especially Frank Oz who always is subtle and handles the most enjoyable Muppet characters. Besides acting, Frank Oz also was the person who directed and wrote the movie.
The movie concentrates a bit too much on just the two main characters of the movie; Kermit and Miss Piggy. Also the human cast gets wasted because of that but of course also most of the Muppet characters. They put (too) many Muppets in the movie but doesn't provide them with enough room to let them shine, or their characters speak out. They tried to do so by putting in some extra solo sequences, featuring some of the Muppet characters, which felt like a last minute addition but was amusing, though distracting, nevertheless. The movie also features Rizzo the Rat in his first big movie role but it's too bad that he didn't teamed up with Gonzo yet in this on. The movie could had really used another and distracting from the main plot, comical duo, besides Kermit and Miss Piggy.
The movie yet again features many cameo from well known actors and other celebrities. Celebrities and Muppets always have been a great combination. Not only well known (at the time) celebrities make a cameo but also the "Sesame Street" characters do so, toward the ending.
It's obvious that they used this movie as a vehicle to also use some new puppet techniques, that in my opinion however don't work out and are redundant. Showing the Muppet's legs when they walk, bad idea! Putting someone in a Miss Piggy suit when she is on roller-blades, bad idea!
Though the movie is mostly forgettable it of course still features some great sequences such as the one with the Muppet babies. It also of course features some good comedy moments and it obviously makes this an enjoyable simple movie to watch but it's all not quite enough for this movie to really make a lasting impression. Out of all the Muppet movies this is probably the one with the most less re-playability factor.
The Muppets gang graduate from college, and try to make it on Broadway.
Only they can't find any takers. The gang decide to go on their own,
and not depend on Kermit so much. Meanwhile Kermit works in a diner,
and try to get his play off the ground.
This starts off great with a lot of comedy from the whole gang. Dabney Coleman is great for some gut busting laughs. It's too bad that the gang is scattered after the start. Miss Piggy has some hilarious fun, but I prefer to have the whole gang together. They're funnier together.
The main live action lead is Juliana Donald who's trying to help Kermit get the play off the ground. She doesn't have any sparks, and looks awkward like she's acting with a bunch of puppets. There are a lot of famous cameos. I'd prefer to have Brooke Shields as the lead. Beside that, there is a lot to love, and a lot of laughs in this Muppets movie.
The Muppets Take Manhattan
The best of the "Muppet" films sees the iconic furry creatures venturing to Manhattan in hopes of lighting up Broadway with their songs and dancing. Funny, touching, and simply great fun for all ages--I haven't seen the original "Muppet" film but I think it'd be hard-pressed to beat this. I got this as a free rental at my video store and kept renting it over and over again for free. If I ever see it on DVD I'm buying it immediately.
**** 1/2 out of *****
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