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'The Muppets' looks to find the rainbow connection [Trailer]

June 20, 2011 | 12:37 pm

It's been one meta teaser after another for "The Muppets" -- goofs on "Green Lantern," goofs on "The Hangover," goofs on its own idea of doing goofs.

On Monday morning Disney released the official, only slightly less postmodern trailer for the Thanksgiving release. Given the love for the original characters, a "Muppets" spot doesn't need to do that much -- indeed, given how much of the humor is situational it really can't do that much -- and it doesn't.

We get the basic premise of Jason Segel's puppeteer helping to reunite the gang, and Kermit in turn rallying the furry ones to perform in a live show. (The movie, and the trailer, keep with the meta vibe of the 1979 original, which featured a movie-within-the-movie.) We get Segel and Amy Adams playing the straight types to the puppets' madcap adventures (lots of Segel brow-furrowing).

And we get the choice shots of the muppets themselves: Kermit and Piggy sharing a tender moment; the requisite in-jokey pile-in-a-car scene, complete with scratchy AM radio version of "Mah Nà Mah Nà;" and close-ups of the supporting oddballs (Animal, the Swedish Chef, Statler and Waldorf). It's all more than enough to whet the appetite without really offering much that stands out.

One of the big questions that's lingered since Disney announced the reboot was whether any movie circa 2011 could find that clever balance between sly grown-up humor and kiddie entertainment that "The Muppet Movie" managed so effortlessly in 1979. One gets hints of that balance here, but not nearly enough to draw any definite conclusions. (Hey, it is just a trailer.)

One also gets the sense that, for all the characters' YouTube ubiquity these last few months, Disney wants to hold back a lot of the surprises (particularly the film's live-action cameos -- one of the pleasures of the original and something that Segel, co-writer Nicholas Stoller and director James Bobin are reprising here). Given how many of us will welcome the mere sight of the Muppets in action, it may not matter.


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2011 Movie Preview: 'The Muppets'

-- Steven Zeitchik