Movie #11 2022: The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

Who doesn’t love The Muppets? I mean, you have to be a special sort of black hearted person to dislike them, right? Since I was a kid, I’ve always been a fan of them (although I will admit I was absolutely obsessed with Jim Henson‘s Fraggle Rock just a tad more). How can you not be at least slightly invested in Kermit and Miss Piggy? They’re all just so charming, man. There’s no wonder I jumped at the chance – and by that, I mean persuaded my wife – to watch their stint in New York City.

The Muppets Take Manhattan starts with the puppet pals doing very well with their musical careers in an unnamed small town. When Kermit begins to dream of something bigger, they all uproot and move to Manhattan in the hopes of selling their show to a Broadway bigwig. It ends up being a lot more difficult than the group first thought though, and the majority of Kermit’s friends give up on the idea and move onto other things. Kermit though has other ideas, and he stays in NYC in order to keep his dream alive, making new friends along the way.

Excuse my French, but how can you not love these little fuckers? I know I’ve already said it, but there’s something so nostalgic and heart-warming about this lot regardless of what they’re doing.

Evidently, this is no The Muppets Christmas Carol, nor is it so fondly or widely remembered, but The Muppets are so endearing that it’s almost impossible to make a bad movie when they’re in it. Though I’ve not seen it, even Muppets From Space garners some praise despite often being hailed as the worst one. Plus, as a fan of musical theatre, this one was right up my street. 

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What is most memorable about this outing? The cameos. Perhaps the late, great Joan Rivers’ appearance was the one that stood out most, as she helps to cheer up a down in the dumps Miss Piggy with a few well-earned laughs. It was really fun to see her letting loose, not to mention a quick Liza Minnelli sighting… plus the whole Sesame Street cast?! What can’t these puppets do?!

I’d say that the one downfall of The Muppets Take Manhattan is the plot. It’s fairly simple – which is fair enough since it’s technically for kids – but that’s not the problem. The idea of focusing on the muppets’ attempt to get their show on Broadway is brilliant, but it takes way too long to get there. By the end, the big conclusion ends up not being them achieving their dream, but with… a wedding? Although it was sweet, it’s not what I wanted to see! I wanted to see their show in full swing, which would have been the most fitting culmination of their efforts.

Although it’s clearly one of the weaker movies in this canon, I couldn’t help but have a good time. The musical numbers were entertaining and often touching, I loved any scene with Rizzo the Rat, and I now want to watch every Muppets movie ever made. Not a bad Sunday, all in all!

The Muppets Take Manhattan is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Enjoyability Rating: ½

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