Last week, my wife and I took our 3-year-old daughters, Madison and Hannah, to their first-ever movie theater to see Disney’s The Muppets and the experience was nothing short of perfection.
Upon entering the building, the kids instinctively gravitated to the concession stands filled with boxes of candy and freshly-made popcorn. We had packed snacks at home (and smuggled them into the theater), so we were able to whisk them past this “pretend popcorn” and headed towards the theater.
The seats were filled as the lights went dark and my girls seemed not to notice the change. Relief! Already unsure of how the twins would handle sitting through a 98-minute film, we had the added benefit of a seven-minute Toy Story short entitled “Small Fry.” The familiar characters eased them into the concept of watching a movie (quietly) in public and Woody and company was as funny as ever.
The Muppets movie finally began and our snack supply was depleted within the first 20 minutes. However, the movie itself captured their attention so we did not need the distraction of snacks. The plot (to reunite The Muppets to raise money to save the old theater from destruction) really hits home for Muppets fans, as well as the long list of cameo actors who appeared to be having a blast as part of the Mahna Mahna — I mean phenomena — that they themselves grew up watching. This especially held true for lead actor Jason Segel (sorry for that billing Miss Piggy, but he did also co-write the screenplay).
As I watched my girls laugh and dance to the music, it was an extremely proud moment for me. Madison was so adorable laughing at jokes she didn’t get just because her daddy laughed. It made me wonder how many jokes I missed when I was a kid. I melted each time she held my arm and declared, “you’re my best friend, daddy!” Those moments outshined the lowlights, such as when she wailed when her lollipop hit the floor. Sorry, Madison, but when it comes to movie theater floors there is no five-second rule.
While Kermit provided everyone with the third best gift in the world (laughter), it was the best gift in the world (children) that landed me my hardest laugh. Following an on-screen performance, the audience applauded so Hannah joined in, but instead shook the theater screaming, “woo hoo!” in approval. And who could disagree? The Muppets certainly are the perfect must-see family movie.