The Happytime Murders is the naughty, triple-X rated version of the Muppets. There’s cursing, drugs, death, and even a reference to that infamous leg crossing scene in Basic Instinct. The premise of foul mouthed puppets is intriguing, but after about ten minutes it’s made clear that the filmmakers couldn’t come up with anything to go along with the initial set up. The first time the puppets drop an f-bomb it’s a shock, but that shock value fades as more f-bombs continue to drop over and over.
The story follows a puppet named Phil Phillips, who is a private eye solving the murders of the former cast of an 80s tv show. Phil partners with his former police partner, played by Melissa McCarthy, in order to track down the bad guys. The murder plot does offer some great opportunities for hilarious death scenes with the puppets. However, about halfway through it turns into a traditional cop comedy with back and forth banter that audiences have heard McCarthy use in other, fully human movies. Even though the film is R-rated, the violence and suspense are still on a kiddy-level; they are puppets after all. There were lots of guns and fighting, but when a puppet gets shot its all fluff balls blowing everywhere, which is only funny once.
Comparisons will be made to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Both movies take what are usually children’s favorites and adds an adult spin to it and both deal with a private investigator solving a murder plot. However, Roger Rabbit succeeded because the filmmakers made its animated stars lovable and made audiences not only believe they could exist, but wanted them to exist. The puppets in The Happytime Murders were one dimensional and only existed to tell a couple of dirty jokes.
Whose Review gives The Happytime Murders the overall score of.. One Trick Puppet. The premise could have become something very exciting, especially with Muppet royalty like Brian Henson on board directing. However, the whole movie was just an opportunity to put puppets in naughty situations and make a lot of sex and poop jokes that got stale quickly.
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