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'Muppets' proves to be year's 'happiest' movie yet (VIDEO)

At a point, this review was going to consist of four words. In all caps, it was going to read, ?YO, IT?S THE MUPPETS!? and the five-star rating would be attached.

Those four words are really all you need to know about The Muppets, released Nov. 23, to make your decision on whether or not to see it. After a 12-year hiatus, the Muppets are back, and they are as entertaining as you remember.

The film opens with small town brothers Gary (Jason Segel), and Walter (Peter Linz voicing a Muppet), heading of to Los Angeles with Gary?s girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams).

Upon arriving in the big city, Walter, being the die-hard Muppets fan that he is, insists that their first stop be the famous Muppet Theater.

Expecting a magical land of wonder and dreams, Walter is devastated to find out that the Theater has deteriorated into a ramshackle tourist trap, one that is not very effective at attracting visitors.

Walter?s dreams are crushed even further, when he learns that oil baron Tex Richman (played by a delightfully evil Chris Cooper), has plans to buy the theater and destroy it to drill for oil.

After a bizarre series of events, our protagonists convince Kermit the Frog to pull the Muppets back together and put on a telethon, in order to raise the $10 million necessary to buy the theater back from Richman.

As ludicrous as the plot sounds, it serves its purpose as a setup for what is essentially 98 minutes of funny gags and catchy songs.

The gags in this film are more adult-skewing than you might expect, not in terms of language or innuendo, but the references that the jokes make are more recognizable if your age consists of two digits.

The fact that this is one of the more mature PG films this year shouldn?t come as a surprise to anyone who knows the pedigree involved. Writers Segel and Nicholas Stoller (who previously co-wrote the very adult Forgetting Sarah Marshall), find a tone that works and stick to it.

None of this is to say that the filmmakers completely forgot about the kids in the audience. The bright color scheme, the catchy musical numbers, and some of the film?s more broad humor should be enough to keep kids entertained throughout the runtime.

The acting in the film does it?s job tremendously, with Cooper particularly standing out as the absurdly evil Tex Richman. Cooper devours scenery, as sneers lines like, ?Maniacal laugh! Maniacal laugh!?, as opposed to actually laughing maniacally.

The cameos in the film are fantastic as well, but telling them to you would ruin the fun. This is a movie best seen knowing as little as possible before going in.

If I have any one complaint with this movie, it?s that it overstays its welcome by about 10 minutes. It?s a very minor nitpick that shows up as a mere thumbprint on an otherwise perfect movie.

I would usually not give a movie like The Muppets a five-star rating, but the fact is that this is the happiest movie I?ve seen this year, rivaled only by Winnie the Pooh. I suggest you seek this film out as soon as possible.

The Muppets is rated PG for some mild rude humor, runs at 98 minutes, and is playing at most local theaters. For tickets and showtimes, visit Fandango.

For more movie reviews, read the Nov. 28 article, ‘Breaking Dawn’ surpasses predecessors despite faults (VIDEO).

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