“I’m staying! You hear that, New York? THE FROG IS STAYING!”
Kermit and his Muppet friends head to Broadway, where they struggle to get their musical — “Manhattan Melodies” — produced.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- New York City
- Puppets and Ventriloquism
The Muppets’ third big-screen adventure (directed by Frank Oz) will primarily appeal either to those who fondly remember watching it as a child, or, naturally, to hardcore Muppet fans. While it contains a few humorous moments, there are an equal number of embarrassments — including the insufferable “Muppet Babies” doo-wop number.
Juliana Donald as Kermit’s sympathetic new friend is instantly forgettable:
though it’s mildly amusing to watch Miss Piggy (with an ’80s perm!) fuming at her with jealous rage. Most entertaining are the scenes in which an amnesia-ridden Kermit — the indisputable star of the show — hangs out with his well-meaning, yet hopelessly square, new frog buddies: Bill, Gil, and Jill.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Amnesiac Kermit — a.k.a. “Phil” — interacting with his new colleagues
- Linda Lavin (as a doctor) testing Kermit’s “reflexes” after his accident
- A truly campy moment as Miss Piggy roller skates through Central Park while trying to catch a purse snatcher
No. This one is for Muppet fans only; it’s not clear why Peary listed it in the back of his book, other than perhaps its Oscar-nominated score by Jeff Moss.
One thought on “Muppets Take Manhattan, The (1984)”
First viewing. Not must-see, though very young ffs are more than likely to give it a shot. Alas, this isn’t one of those kids’ films that’s also fun for adults. It tries its darnedest to be cheery – but it’s just trying too hard (without benefit of a better script).
It’s almost shocking how bland this movie is, in all departments. And how the film’s score managed an Oscar nomination is a head-scratcher; it’s barely serviceable.
As noted, one of the film’s few redeeming qualities is the appearance of Linda Lavin in a cameo as a doctor diagnosing Kermit’s amnesia. She’s very cute. But – as not noted – Lavin is upstaged by the film’s best (if brief) performance, given by James Coco, as a dog owner very much enamored of his little ‘Snookums’. His scene is such a plus that it almost seems ad-libbed.