1 January 2004 | bob the moo
A collection of spoofs and homages but still very entertaining
On Christmas Eve Kermit sits alone on a park bench - a broken frog. His lost cries reach the angels but they can do nothing, until one of them, Daniel, takes the case to God herself and shows Her what brought Kermit to this state in the hope that She will send an angel to help him.
While the TVM status of this film might suggest that it is a lesser product that the Muppet movies that used to be cinema draws, let me assure you that this is not the case and that this film actually benefits from being on TV and keeping the humour of the show rather than having the pressure of becoming a big screen outing. The overall plot is `It's A Wonderful Life' however the back story watched by the angels and us holds spoofs of Moulin Rouge and Scrubs as well as references to A Beautiful Mind, The Grinch, Entrapment and lots more. The downside of this is that the plot is very episodic, but the plus side is that the film is funny and will easily engage adults as well as children.
Opening with the stage manager removing a snowman narrator by calling him a `Burl Ives wannabe' the film keeps this sense of humour that you've come to expect from the TV show. My favourite line from the whole film is Bunsen replying to Beaker with `thank you Beaker - I think you have a beautiful mind too'!
The cast of muppets are very good - with all the new characters from the television show having a bit of time, including Pepe, Risso the Rat, Johnny Fiama and his monkey etc. The voices are not done by the original cast for a variety of reasons but they are still very good - I had to look at the credits to spot that it wasn't Frank Oz doing Fozzie (and Yoda!). The human cast is amusing even if it doesn't all work. The cast of Scrubs are wasted and not funny apart from showing up but cameos from Arquette, Macy, Goldberg and Lillard are all amusing and Cusack seems to enjoy herself.
Overall this was a fun festive film, it has the usual message to it and it has moments that just don't work and the plot really is just a salvage job from other films, but it still works and is surprisingly funny with lots of film references. The downside of this I suppose is that the film won't stand the test of time as the topical references get forgotten over time, but that's why it was a TVM I guess, cause that won't matter.