Our family recently saw several kid movies that are out right now – The Muppets, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked, and the instant classic Puss in Boots.
The first two have their moments; both are also fairly blah. Puss in Boots has been out for a while so has limited availability but it’s a must-see and, eventually, a must-own. We also saw Happy Feet Two – a horrible mess the kids didn’t even really enjoy. Skip it.
The Muppets, co-written by the star Jason Segel, is a been-there-done-that storyline about an evil oilman (of course) Tex Richman (seriously?) played well by Chris Cooper who is going to destroy the theater the Muppets used for the old Muppet Show, way back when.
Oil never did anything good for anyone except heat our homes and power our cars, but I digress.
Of course, the main character Gary (Segel) and his Muppet-wannabe puppet brother Walter (voiced by “Between the Lions” Peter Linz) put the band back together to save the theater. Honestly, I dozed through most of the set up – the intermittent singing (yes, it’s a musical) lulled me to sleep.
All the old favorites are back – Kermit, Scooter, Animal and the lovely Miss Piggy – I prefer the long & smooth-hair look for her…
Amy Adams is sweet as Mary, who has the patience of Job since she’s been waiting for years for Gary to finally pop the question. Their one vacation together is timed poorly with the demise of the theater and thus, she waits.
I’m sure you can figure out the end…I won’t ruin it, just in case. It’s an ok movie; the singing will definitely bore the younger crowd but the colorful Muppets will keep them engaged and there is enough cute lines and cameos (including some Cajun political strategist) to keep parents fairly amused.
Alvin’s third installment is fun but not hilarious. Again, I snoozed early on so I’m not completely sure how they got “chip-wrecked” on an island, as the title indicates – my husband told me they drifted on a kite so no violent ship-sinking was involved – phew.
The boys – Alvin, Simon and Theodore and girls – Brittany, Janette and Eleanor (they’re from the second installment, in case you missed that) land on a tropical island and have to learn to be “animals” again.
Somehow, Dave (played again by Jason Lee) and the big bad capitalist music producer Ian (David Cross) wash up on the same exact island. Ian spends the entire back half of the movie in a giant bird suit. I have no idea why – I was asleep for that part. I did feel sorry for Cross having to wear that God-awful outfit for most of the filming.
The ‘munks discover Zoe, a crazed pilot who talks to a variety of sports balls (a la Tom Hanks’ Castaway), played by Jenny Slate. You might remember Slate from her cup-of-coffee visit to Saturday Night Live where she dropped the F-bomb. You’ll certainly hear more from her as she’s slated to be in the up-coming Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax movie.
Zoe is searching for treasure on the island and sees an opportunity to use the tiny fuzz balls to her advantage in collecting the loot. A volcano convenient wreaks havoc on the island and bonding occurs between Dave and Alvin. Kum Ba Yah.
It was fun and has a good soundtrack. The kids liked it but didn’t love it.
The very best movie of the season we’ve seen is Puss in Boots. Our family is still quoting from it (“You snap ME?!” and “It’s for my glaucoma”). We actually saw it twice, which we never do.
It’s been said that it is always difficult for a character from another movie to break out on their own, but Puss does so with aplomb. Antonio Banderas is back as the feisty feline, this time joined by the stealth and lovely Kitty Softpaws, voiced by Selma Hayek.
The villain of the show is Humpty Dumpty, voiced by Zach Galifianakis – creepy. I was especially disturbed by him during the first viewing but I got over it by the second time through.
The very best scene in the movie happens early on – a dance-off between Puss and Kitty Softpaws. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Even my 70+ year old mother was in hysterics. The middle drags a little with the set up of why Humpty may be a bad egg but the resolution ties it up nicely.
Besides the food-product antagonist, we also meet two of the freakiest Bonnie and Clyde types in Jack (a breathy Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris – Cinderella’s voice in Shrek the Third) who decide to adopt a baby boar instead of having a baby of their own. I personally always thought they were siblings – eww.
Anyway, you’ll love it as much as you kids will. Enjoy, Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!
Marijo Tinlin is the editor in chief of Family First, one of the oldest family-oriented websites on the internet. She is also the author of the new book about patriotism and teaching our children to love this country. It’s called “How to Raise an American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American” and features 13 interviews with patriotic Americans including Ed Meese, Erick Erickson and Newt’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman. It’s available at www.raisinganamericanpatriot.com.
photos courtesy: www.imdb.com and www.pussinbootsthemovie.com]]>