tek's rating: ½

The Great Muppet Caper (G)
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Caution: spoilers.

This came out in 1981, and I'm sure I saw it at least once when I was a kid. But by the time I got around to reviewing it in 2023, I remembered next to nothing about it. And I enjoyed it a lot less than the first movie, but it grew on me somewhat as the story progressed, and it definitely had some good moments. Of course I enjoyed all the lampshade-hanging and fourth wall-breaking, and stuff like that. The songs were okay, but I didn't find them that memorable.

Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear play "identical twins", who are reporters for a newspaper called the Daily Chronicle, along with their photographer, Gonzo. While they're doing a musical number about being in a movie, a wealthy heiress and fashion designer named Lady Holiday (Diana Rigg) has her jewels stolen in broad daylight. Kermit and Fozzie's boss, Mr. Tarkanian, is upset that they missed out on a story that was right under their noses, and he fires them. So Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo go to London to interview Lady Holiday and try to catch the thieves. They end up staying at the Happiness Hotel, where they meet a bunch of other Muppets. Meanwhile, Miss Piggy goes to Lady Holiday's office to try to get a job as a model. Instead, Holiday gives her a job as a receptionist, as well as dropping some exposition about her ne'er-do-well brother, Nicky (Charles Grodin). Lady Holiday then leaves Piggy alone in the office, and when Kermit shows up to ask for an interview, he mistakes Piggy for Holiday, and she plays along with the mistake. She doesn't want to do an interview then and there, instead making a date with him for later. She gives him a fake address to pick her up at.

That night, Piggy sneaks into the house at the address she had given Kermit, which is the home of some stuffy rich guy named Neville (John Cleese) and his wife, who are having one of the most boring conversations ever. Piggy then lets Kermit in and gives him a whirlwind tour, trying to get out as quickly as possible, but they're confronted by Neville, whom Piggy asks to recommend a good restaurant. He gives a recommendation, and she and Kermit leave, driven to the restaurant (I mean, supper club) by the gang from the Happiness Hotel. Coincidentally, Lady Holiday and her brother are at the same club, and witness Kermit dancing with Miss Piggy. (Piggy later does a spectacular dance routine without Kermit, accompanied by basically the whole staff of the supper club.) For some reason, Nicky falls in love with Piggy at first sight. But also, he turns out to be the mastermind behind the theft of his sister's jewels, along with three accomplices who are models who work for Lady Holiday. They steal another one of her necklaces, and Gonzo takes a picture of the crime, but for a reason I won't go into, the picture gets destroyed before they can show it to anyone. Oh, and Kermit learns that Miss Piggy isn't really Lady Holiday, which temporarily derails their relationship. I need to mention that while they were at the supper club, one thing I've always remembered from the movie is that Fozzie puts some sugar in his drink and says it makes it taste like ginger ale. I remember that specifically because at some point in my youth I thought the same thing, although now I can't remember whether I came to that conclusion before or after seeing it in the movie. Also I've always thought it was water he put the sugar in, but watching the movie now I think it was probably like champagne or something.

Anyway, Kermit later runs into Miss Piggy in a park, and they eventually reconcile and go on a bike ride together while singing a song. Seeing them and other Muppets riding bicycles is something else that's memorable about the movie, although I feel more like I remember it from something I saw later in life, some sort of Muppet retrospective or something. I dunno. Later, Lady Holiday has a fashion show, where Piggy ends up replacing one of the models, but Nicky reluctantly frames her for having stolen his sister's necklace, and she gets arrested. However, Gonzo overhears the thieves planning to steal Lady Holiday's "Baseball Diamond" from a gallery. Instead of going to the police with this information, the Muppets all decide to go to the gallery on the night of the robbery and foil the crime themselves. Meanwhile, Piggy breaks out of jail and also makes her way to the gallery. And despite all odds, the plan to expose the real criminals actually works.

What else can I say? I think I've already said too much. But there are some good cameo appearances in the movie, which I mostly don't want to spoil, but my favorite was Peter Falk as a Columbo-like stranger who makes a very elaborate and hilarious guess about what Kermit's story is, but is completely wrong. I loved that scene. And... there were various little things I liked about the movie. But it really took me awhile to get into it, and there were probably lots of things I didn't so much like about it. I hate to say it, but on the whole I felt like the movie was kind of forgettable, but I suppose I'll end up remembering a bit better now than I did from when I saw it as a kid.

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