Yeah, they're cute. The Muppets bring their goofy plushness to yet another classic tonight with ''The Muppets' Wizard of Oz," at 8 on Channel 5. Presented as part of ''The Wonderful World of Disney," the adaptation of the L. Frank Baum story transposes Dorothy (Ashanti) to a Kansas trailer park, desperate to leave Auntie Em (Queen Latifah) and become a famous singer. And on her journey to Oz she encounters a small population of furry creatures including Kermit as the Scarecrow, Fozzie Bear as the Cowardly Lion, and Gonzo as the Tin Man.
Basically, the movie delivers the familiar tale of home and self-esteem with a heavy dose of silly Muppetian surreality and contemporary allusion. The best way to imagine the tone is to picture Miss Piggy as a motorcycle-riding Wicked Witch of the West, dressed in leather and proclaiming, ''There is only room for one diva in Oz, and that's moi."
The magic slippers are from Manolo Blahnik, Dorothy must submit to a ''Magical Makeover Machine" when she arrives in the Emerald City, and the Wicked Witch has her own reality show. At one point, the movie whimsically cuts to director Quentin Tarantino in the flesh, pitching a fight scene to a Hollywood executive also played by Kermit.
Frankly, you have to be an adult with an enduring affection for the Muppets to love their adorability for two hours. And you have to be a kid who doesn't mind a lot of visual and narrative clutter to enjoy this somewhat sloppy production. As dear as the gang may be, and as present-tense as the writers' sense of humor is, ''The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" is a bit of a slog. A sweet, darling, lovable slog.
Matthew Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com.