Do you feel lucky, punk?

Theatrical Release Date:
Director: Constance Marks
Featuring: Kevin Clash, Whoopi Goldberg (narrator)
Rated: PG for some mild language including a brief drug reference.
Runtime: 1 hour, 20 minutes

This is called ‘Choking your Muppet’

I can’t tell you how to get Sesame Street, not being a native New Yorker, but I can tell you that if “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” is playing near you, it’s something fun for both you and the kids.

The documentary is about Kevin Clash, the man behind Elmo. Growing up idolizing Jim Henson, he created his own puppets as a child and began by putting on shows for the neighborhood kids in Baltimore. This led to local TV, then Captain Kangaroo, and finally, Sesame Street itself (he also worked with Henson directly on “Labyrinth”).

The film is sweet, full of puppets (and Muppets), and at 80 minutes, won’t have any youngins in the audience squirming too much. From a filmmaking standpoint, there’s nothing too special here but that’s okay. It’s a series of interviews compiled with archival footage like they all are, though here segments are loosely tied together with sparse narration by Whoopi Goldberg. It would have been nice to delve deeper into Clash’s life once he began realizing his dreams and hitting the big time, as most of the background is about his formative years and the steps that led him to Sesame Street, but those elements would make its appeal to kids a harder sell.

Going into much more detail would merely be a synopsis. The bottom line is that this is a decently made documentary full of the warmth and joy that Elmo brings; only now you get to see inside the puppet (literally) and meet the man who made that ticklish ball of fur the icon he is today. “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” gets a 3.5 out of 5, and if you can’t catch it in theaters, is sure to be a hit on the home market – for young and old alike.

3.5 out of 5