For their second movie, Kermit and company are literally dropped (that’s what you get for flying “ninth class”) into a Hollywood caper involving the theft of London’s grand Baseball Diamond. Intrepid investigative reporters and twin brothers Kermit and Fozzie Bear (don’t ask) must solve the crime to save their jobs. Good luck. For starters, the Muppet ensemble is just having too much fun making a movie, as witness Gonzo, Fozzie, and Kermit’s running commentary during the opening credits (“Gee, a lot of people worked on this movie”) and the fantastic production number “Starring Everybody…and Me.” What self-respecting crime movie takes time out for a Busby Berkeley-style water ballet -- featuring a synchronous-swimming pig, no less? A Muppet movie, of course. That said, The Great Muppet Caper is not as rousing a success as The Muppet Movie. The London location is underutilized, and the pacing is off, with some scenes and songs going on too long. But the smart script and the game human cast keep things moving right along. Ravishing Diana Rigg costars as Lady Holiday, a fashion designer, and Charles Grodin steals scenes as her feckless brother, who has designs on both his sister’s diamond and Miss Piggy, an aspiring model who becomes the unwitting fall-pig in his scheme. As with the first film, there are fun and fleeting cameos. Among the most memorable are John Cleese, Peter Falk, and Oscar the Grouch.
Jim Henson's feature film directorial debut is actually the Muppets' second silver screen effort, but follows the same formula that made their television show and first film a success. The Great Muppet Caper boasts crowd-pleasingly silly musical numbers which combine with clever jokes and sight gags that range from innocently goofy to relatively sophisticated, clearly taking into consideration the audience's wide range of ages. The Great Muppet Caper is, of course, populated by Henson's very cuddly and adorable creations, but is also smart enough to know that while cute can carry you a long way on a short TV. show, a feature length film requires a little more effort. Thus, the film pokes as much fun at itself as it does at its setting ("Merry Old England"). The script could use a little tightening up, as the story sometimes stumbles in search of ways to hook the tunes and gags to a plausible plotline. Narrative flaws notwithstanding, Henson's cheerful and giddy film, which is packed with mostly quite amusing cameos by B-level movie stars, is in many ways a throwback to the goofy and mostly pointless comedies of the 1960's (Help, et al.).
|Source:||Walt Disney Video|