It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
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|It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie|
|Created by||Jim Henson|
|Directed by||Kirk R. Thatcher|
|Narrated by||Mel Brooks|
|Theme music composer||Mark Watters|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||85 minutes|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
MGM Worldwide Television Distribution
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
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 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.
This is also one of the few Muppets-related productions that are currently not owned by The Walt Disney Company.
A snowman named Joe Snow (voiced 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 man, 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, and after Kermit wishes he has never been born, he ends up showing Kermit what would have happened if he had not existed. In the world without Kermit, Bitterman has turned the park near the Muppet Theater into a shopping mall called Bitterman Plaza, the Muppet Theater itself has become a nightclub called Club Dot owned by Bitterman, Doc Hopper's French-Fried Frog Legs has become a famous fast-food restaurant, and all of Kermit's friends have fallen into various detrimental situations.
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
- William H. Macy as Glenn, an angel
- Mel Brooks as Joe Snow (voice), parodying Sam the Snowman from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Chantal Strand as Nancy Nut-What
- Dave "Squatch" Ward as Sally Ann Santa Claus
- Steve Whitmire as Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker
- Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Waldorf, Zoot
- Bill Barretta as Pepé the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear, Johnny Fiama, Swedish Chef, Lew Zealand, Howard Tubman, Rowlf the Dog
- Eric Jacobson as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Yoda
- Brian Henson as Scooter, Janice, Sal Minella
- Kevin Clash as Sam Eagle
- John Henson as Sweetums
- John Kennedy as Dr. Teeth
- Jerry Nelson as Robin the Frog, Statler, Floyd Pepper, Announcer
- Allan Trautman as Joe Snow (puppetry only), Eugene the Tuba Player
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 (deleted scene)
- 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
Veteran Muppet performer Jerry Nelson was ill during filming, so most of his characters were puppeteered by others and later dubbed by Nelson in post-production. The exception was Nelson's character Lew Zealand, who was performed by Bill Barretta.
Scooter, performed in the film by Brian Henson, makes his first major appearance since the death of his initial performer, Richard Hunt. Hunt's character Janice was also performed by Henson and has a speaking role for the first time since Hunt's death.
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 classic Muppet song "Rainbow Connection", featuring a statue of Kermit in a park, erected in dedication "for the lovers, the dreamers and you".