Muppets Take Manhattan, The (1984)

Muppets Take Manhattan, The (1984)

“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:

  • Amnesia
  • Let’s-Put-On-a-Show
  • Musicals
  • 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

Must See?
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)

  1. 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.

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