Desperately trying to appeal to not just the Gen-Xers who grew up with Kermit but also the tykes who've never even heard of Jim Henson, The Muppets has none of the easy confidence of the original TV show or movie. The reboot is largely the labor of love of die-hard Muppets fan Jason Segel, who co-wrote the script and also stars as Gary, big brother of Walter, a sweet if dull new Muppet created for the film. Walter (voiced by Peter Linz), Gary, and Gary's girlfriend (Amy Adams) leave their Midwestern hamlet for a trip to Los Angeles, where they tour the decrepit, dusty Muppet Studios and learn of a plot by tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to tear down the building. They frantically seek out Kermit, convincing him to reunite his long-lost pals to save it. Certain moments of Kermit's quest recall the vaudevillian fun of its predecessors. The Muppets is most successful when devoted to gathering the old players and following the arc of its forebears by becoming a show about the frenzy of putting on a show—in this case, a telethon to raise the money needed to buy back the studio. But, terrified of alienating those who were raised on the originals, The Muppets panders to them instead, constantly blasting or restaging Top-40 hits from the past three decades and featuring Camilla and her backup chickens clucking to Cee Lo Green's "Forget You."
Segel and two of his felt co-stars.
Opens at Cinerama and other theaters, Wed., Nov. 23. Rated PG. 98 minutes.