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Muppets From Space review

In its search for Gonzo's origins, the latest Muppet movie leaps unashamedly onto the X-Files sci-fi bandwagon. Unfortunately, nothing here feels particularly fresh. What you get is essentially a retread of old jokes with the usual Muppet schtick.

But then who cares... It's the Muppets, right? We want goggle-eyed gags, pure and simple, and at least there's plenty of them (the morning sequence in which the regulars go through their breakfast rituals is a particular delight). While Kermit and Miss Piggy are kept to the background, some of the newer characters are given a chance to shine. Pepe the prawn (""I am not a shrimp, I am a KEENG PRAWN!"") is a puppet star in the making, neatly moving from Muppets Tonight background filler to big-screen supporting star.

As usual, though, the human players are simply there to react, and some of the cameos have the distinct Graveyard Of Stalled Careers stench about them. Ray Liotta (fast developing a straight-to-video `star' rep) makes the most of his five lines as a bumbling security guard, while Andie MacDowell has what can only be described as a micro-role, more of a walk-on than an actual performance.

There's very little plot to maintain the pace and the writers obviously had problems taking their ideas beyond premise level. Young children will become bored during the quiet (ie human-filled) moments, and most of the sci-fi references will zoom straight over the little darlings' heads. For those who like their in-jokes and movie trivia, however, everything from Close Encounters to Independence Day (via Men In Black) is gently spoofed.

Enjoyable, but not a classic, Muppets From Space will appeal more to life-long fans than Elmo-hugging moppets. Those fabric fetishists who prefer a decent plot would be better off watching A Muppet Christmas Carol instead.

A fair amount of decent laughs can't disguise a micro-thin plot which won't keep the kids from fidgeting. But it packs in just enough sci-fi/film references to keep fans amused. Possibly worth a look if you're a groupie.

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