Please allow me to Kermit flail and yell "Yaaaay!" because we have come to my absolute favorite of the Muppet films. There's something about the idea of the Muppets trying to make it big on Broadway combined with the many funny gags through the film that I just absolutely love.
You could probably argue that this movie is a rehashing of The Muppet Movie, in that this is a story of the Muppets trying to become famous. However it's clear that the Muppets are meant to be acting here, rather than playing themselves. Add to that the fact that their characters also act in the play at the beginning and end of this film, and we've got a nice set of layers here.
Kermit is the main focus of the film, interacting with most of the human main characters while the other Muppets play supporting roles or execute one off gags. The idea that Kermit stays behind while the others go work jobs to make ends meet is perfect, allowing the story to move along via Kermit while we get to see great funny bits like Rowlf being told how to take care of "Snookums" or seeing Lew Zealand throw fish at patrons in a 3D movie theater.
As an 80s child I also can't help but be extremely happy while watching the Muppet Babies scene. Even if you don't have any fond memories of that show, it's really just absolutely adorable. I remember as a kid being really impressed by Piggy's desire to be so many professions. Yeah, I took things pretty literally back then.
I also really love the moments in the film when Kermit has amnesia. The doctor bending his face and limbs every which way is hysterical, and I love his literal ad campaign idea. Also, I can't prove it, but it may be the inspiration for the movie Crazy People. Perhaps the best part of it all though is when he begins to laugh at and mock the idea of he and Piggy being in a relationship together. Beyond the puns: "Maybe you expected me to go HOG-wild? Perhaps you could bring home the BACON!" his tone just really makes it. Also, don't we all kind of wonder what he sees in her anyway? I certainly don't think I could ever be in a relationship with a diva like that.
You would expect a movie that features characters trying to make it on Broadway to have good songs, and this one does not disappoint. "Together Again," "You Can't Take No For An Answer," "Saying Goodbye," and "I'm Gonna Always Love You" are all classics in my mind, and I think "Somebody's Getting Married" plays in my head any time I attend a wedding.
Perhaps what makes this movie shine so much is that Frank Oz took over directing duties, allowing Henson to focus on just being Kermit. I watched a Henson interview on the disc and I was impressed with how he had nothing but praise for Oz and gave him most of the credit for this film. He was definitely a humble man who wasn't afraid to let the members of his team show off from time to time. If there is any celebrity death that has really hit me hard, it's Henson. I feel like he helped to raise me as much as my parents did. Sadly, this is the last Muppet film Henson was involved with before his death.
I know it's a little early for Christmas, but since I'm doing these in chronological order, we're going to have to talk about The Muppet Christmas Carol tomorrow.