It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
|It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie|
|Distributed by||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (original)|
|Created by||Jim Henson|
|Directed by||Kirk R. Thatcher|
|Produced by||Warren Carr
Martin G. Baker
|Written by||Tom Martin
|Music by||Mark Watters|
|Editing by||Gregg Featherman|
|Production company||The Jim Henson Company|
|Running time||85 minutes|
It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie is a 2002 NBC television film, directed by Kirk Thatcher and written by Tom Martin and Jim Lewis and stars Whoopi Goldberg, David Arquette, Joan Cusack, the cast of Scrubs and The Muppets. The plot centers on Kermit the Frog who, after losing all hope for saving the Muppet Theatre, is assisted by an angel who shows him a world in which he had never been born. The film is a homage to Frank Capra's 1946 film, It's a Wonderful Life, which has a very similar plot. This was the first Muppet production without the involvement of veteran Muppet performer Frank Oz. Instead, Eric Jacobson performed Oz's characters Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Animal, marking his feature film debut as those characters. Oz's character Sam Eagle was voiced by Kevin Clash, while John Kennedy provided the puppetry. The film is rated PG for Thematic Elements, making it one of three Muppet films to have the rating, the other ones being The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted (2014). Director Kirk R. Thatcher later directed The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005) and A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa (2008).
The film contains an original song, "Everyone Matters", performed by Kermit and Gonzo as part of the world in which he had never been born, and then reprised at the end. The film also makes reference to the Muppet classic song "Rainbow Connection", featuring a statue of Kermit in a park, erected in dedication "for the lovers, the dreamers and you".
A snowman named Joe Snow (voice by Mel Brooks) recounts how the Muppet Theater was going through financial hardship, and the Muppets seeking Kermit the Frog for guidance. Kermit eventually feels he is not useful to anyone and an angel named Daniel (David Arquette) brings this up with his Boss (Whoopi Goldberg) as they review what has gone on with Kermit in the past hours.
Hours earlier, Kermit prepares a Christmas show with his fellow Muppets with Bobo the Bear playing Santa Claus. Kermit is approached by Rachel Bitterman (Joan Cusack), a banker/real estate agent who says that she will foreclose the Muppet Theater if Kermit does not pay her. Pepe the King Prawn leaves the Muppets because he has fallen in love with Bitterman. While trying to raise money to pay Rachel, Kermit tries to find a celebrity to participate in his Christmas play to no avail. Meanwhile, after learning from Pepe that the deadline is midnight, Bitterman changes it to 6:00 p.m. When he sees her with another boy-toy however, Pepe leaves her and warns Kermit about the deadline change. Upon learning this, Kermit sends Fozzie to deliver the money to Bitterman. Fozzie confronts a crazed nature-show host (spoofing Steve Irwin), Joe Snow (who gets shot with a tranquilizer by the nature-show host), and a gang of Whos after being dyed green at a Christmas tree lot and mistaken for the Grinch. Fozzie goes through the steam baths and ends up back to normal. When Fozzie eventually makes it to the bank and Bitterman's office, he goes through a gigantic web of burning lasers leading to Bitterman's office several times before finally discovering that he's too late and that he has grabbed the wrong bag containing clothes for the Salvation Army following his incident at the Christmas tree lot.
After witnessing these events, the Boss allows Daniel to help Kermit. When Daniel arrives, he ends up showing Kermit what would have happened to his friends if he had not existed. In the world without Kermit, there are various changes that Kermit has seen:
- Bitterman has changed the park near the Muppet Theater into a shopping mall called Bitterman Plaza Mall.
- Gonzo is now homeless and works as a depressed street performer. He plays the guitar and showcases the talent of with Amy the "Dancing" Brick.
- Rizzo the Rat stars in an episode of Fear Factor where a woman has to eat him alive. Fearful for his life, Rizzo states that this was not in his contract.
- Doc Hopper's French Fried Frog Legs has become a famous fast-food restaurant franchise, which terrifies Kermit because he had not been there to interfere.
- Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem perform Irish stepdance as O'Mayhem's Celtic Dance Group" where they are choreographed by Howard Tubman. They are seen dancing near Doc Hopper's French Fried Frog Legs.
- The Muppet Theater has become a nightclub called Club Dot which is owned by Bitterman.
- Dr. Bunsen Honeydew became a beatnik doorman at Club Dot where he decides who enters and who doesn't.
- Sam Eagle is a glowstick-wielding raver at Club Dot.
- Scooter is a cage-dancing raver at Club Dot.
- Johnny Fiama is the bartender of Club Dot.
- Statler and Waldorf are deadbeat barflies at Club Dot until they stop shelling dough and are kicked out by Johnny Fiama.
- Robin the Frog is a busboy at Club Dot. He tells Bitterman that there's no more bottled water and she tells him to just fill up the bottles with tap water.
- Beaker became a nightclub bouncer at Club Dot where he throws Kermit and Daniel out of Club Dot.
- Fozzie Bear is now a pickpocket living on the streets where he had stolen Kermit's wallet even though Kermit doesn't have pockets.
- Miss Piggy is a spinster who lives in an apartment with a series of cats, working from home as a phone psychic with an eccentrically fraudulent Jamaican accent.
- Pepé the King Prawn is a criminal and con-artist that has escaped from prison, in a deleted scene from the movie.
Kermit has Daniel restore him back to his reality and returns to the Muppet Theater. However, Bitterman arrives to shut the theater down and fights with Miss Piggy. Pepe arrives and announces he has made the Muppet Theater into a historical landmark, foiling Bitterman's plan. Embittered and defeated, Bitterman storms out of the Muppet Theater. Outside, the Muppets and Joe Snow sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".
- David Arquette as Daniel, an angel who appears to Kermit at Christmas
- Joan Cusack as Rachel Bitterman, a spoiled, rich young banker
- Matthew Lillard as Luc Fromage, a foppish French choreographer
- Whoopi Goldberg as The Boss, the Creator of the Universe similar to God
- William H. Macy as Glenn, an angel
- Mel Brooks as Joe Snow (voice)
- Chantal Strand as Nancy Nut-What
- Dave "Squatch" Ward as Sally Ann Santa Claus
- Steve Whitmire as Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Statler (puppetry only), Mr. Poodlepants, Bean Bunny, and one of the Elvises
- Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Waldorf
- Bill Barretta as Pepé the King Prawn, Swedish Chef, Johnny Fiama, Bobo the Bear, Lew Zealand, Howard Tubman, Rowlf the Dog, and one of the Elvises
- Eric Jacobson as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Yoda Muppet
- Kevin Clash as Sam Eagle (voice only)
- Brian Henson as Scooter, Janice, Sal Minella
- John Henson as Sweetums
- John Kennedy as Sam Eagle (puppetry only), Dr. Teeth
- Jerry Nelson as Robin the Frog, Pops, Floyd Pepper, Crazy Harry, Announcer, Statler, Maxine (all voices only)
- Allan Trautman as Joe Snow (puppetry only), Eugene the Tuba Player
Puppeteer Drew Massey briefly appears as a potential customer for Gonzo and Amy the Dancing Brick.
Cameo guest stars
- Zach Braff as Himself/Dr. John "J.D." Dorian
- Sarah Chalke as Herself/Dr. Elliot Reid
- Carson Daly as Himself
- Snoop Dogg as Himself (scene deleted)
- Neil Flynn as Himself/Janitor
- Bill Lawrence as Himself
- John C. McGinley as Himself/Dr. Perry Cox
- Judy Reyes as Herself/Nurse Carla Espinosa
- Kelly Ripa as Herself
- Joe Rogan as Himself
- Molly Shannon as Herself
- Robert Smigel as Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog