OK, let's get this out the way. I said in my past reviews that the Muppets put on Christmas specials really well, showing the heart and spirit of Christmas...That is not the case at all here. This parody of Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" isn't nearly as charming or wonderful as any other Muppet Christmas special.
Apparently, the Muppet Theater was owned by a businessman named Mr. Bitterman, and everything went over to his wife when he passed away. Instead of being kind and understanding like her late husband, Mrs. Bitterman is evil and greedy. She tells the Muppets to pay what they owe by midnight of Christmas Eve, or else she'll own the theater and will tear it down. The Muppets plan an extravagant show on Christmas Eve to bring in money for the theater. None of them know, however, that Bitterman changed the contract, having the Muppets pay by 6:00 p.m. instead of midnight. They attempt to take the money to her on time, fail, and Kermit feels bad about keeping a dream for so long and wishes that he was never born.
There are actually a few good things about this movie, so let's start with those. There are a few good jokes in here. I have to admit I do find myself laughing a couple of times while watching this. Kermit and Gonzo share a song called "Everyone Matters" that's a pretty nice song. It's not the Muppets' best song, but it's a good one. And I like the message they have here, that anyone can make a difference because, as the song says, everyone matters.
Now that that's out the way, let's talk about why this film sucks. First of all, it's not timeless. The only things preventing the Muppets from being 100% timeless in their past productions were the popular songs they sang and their celebrity guests. Here, they make a number of references to pop culture: "Fear Factor," "Crocodile Watcher," the crap 2000 movie version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and more! Secondly, the Muppets also had a tradition of appealing to both adults and kids. You'll remember in my last Muppet review, "Kermit's Swamp Years," I said that wasn't too good because it appealed just to kids? This one tries to appeal to just adults! They make a number of sex jokes, Kermit finds himself in a nightclub, and even the language the characters often use is for adults! They don't cuss or anything (actually, there is a hidden deleted scene on the DVD where one of the characters does cuss...IN A MUPPET MOVIE!!!!), but they talk a lot of business stuff that kids wouldn't understand. Why would you do that? You know that kids are going to watch this movie; my siblings and I watched this when it first came out! COME ON! Also, again, I don't like some of these characters. OK, I'm not that big a fan of Sal and Johnny, but I swallow them OK. No, my least favorite character is all over the place in this movie: Pepe! In case I didn't make it clear before, let me do so now: I FRICKIN' HATE PEPE!!! I am boggled by the fact that so many people love him; he sucks! How can I say such a thing? I'll tell you: Number one, he's selfish. When he has the option to stay with the Muppets and help them save the theater, he blows it by going with Bitterman because she has money and he finds her attractive! What a jerk! Secondly, he's lustful. I never wanted to hear a Muppet character use the term "sexy," but Pepe says it as naturally as he breathes. Third, what's the point of him? I mean, what's the point of his character - his existence - as a whole? He doesn't add anything or contribute much. In this movie, yes, he does has his redemption at the end. But I wonder if he did that just to make people like him or to give him something to do. And I still don't understand how he got so popular in the first place! UGH, I just don't like him.
This just feels like another Muppet project that is trying to conform to the current way of entertainment. I watch it every now and then just to remind myself of it, but this is one I can definitely advise you to skip. Now I know what you're thinking, "For as much as you talk about this, could this be the worst Muppet production?" The answer, sadly, is no. Find me over by "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz," and I'll be the one crying in the corner. BOOYIKA!
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