Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Muppets From Space

The Muppets franchise has struggled to return to form since the death of creator and beloved mastermind Jim Henson: The voices he provided have been hard to replicate, but not as hard as the wit and intelligence he helped bring to their scripts and personalities. Muppets From Space more or less gets the voices right—for starters, Kermit is voiced by Steve Whitmire rather than Brian Henson—but a spark is still missing from the film's gags, setpieces, and overall pacing. When it's not grinding to a halt so the Muppets can dance laboriously to the strains of predictably selected funk songs ("Celebration," "Brick House," and so on), Muppets From Space shows lovable Gonzo's attempts to make contact with an alien family he didn't know existed. But, to do so, he and his friends must first free him from the clutches of scenery-chewing, alien-seeking covert nogoodnik Jeffrey Tambor. Along the way, the heroes encounter a series of cameos by game but uncomfortable-looking minor celebrities, who turn in performances ranging from creepy (Kathy Griffin) to embarrassingly over-the-top (David Arquette), to eye-rollingly buffoonish (Rob Schneider), to downright inexplicable (Hulk Hogan). The cavalcade of guest spots does give viewers the rare opportunity to see Andie MacDowell getting punched in the stomach by Miss Piggy, as well as the chance to watch Dawson's Creek star Katie Holmes reject the amorous advances of a wise-cracking prawn, but they also undermine Muppets From Space's attempts to transcend its dull, plodding shenanigans.

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