As a huge fan of Melissa McCarthy, I wasn’t about to miss out on one of her films involving puppets. Especially when said puppets and film were made by Jim Henson’s son Brian Henson. That being said, just remember that these puppets are absolutely 100% “No Sesame, All Street”. “From the studio formerly sued by Sesame Street” STX presents The Happytime Murders.
Private detective Phil Philipps (Bill Barretta) is a puppet and lives in a world where puppets coexist with but are otherwise hated by humans. After a series of murders including that of his brother it forces his ex-partner Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) to help solve the crime. The murderer seems to be targeting all former cast members of the beloved eighties TV show The Happytime Gang. Two worlds clash as the race is on to find the culprit.
Honestly I feel as though I could do without seeing this film ever again. Yes there are funny moments but it seems overshadowed by the lack of a good storyline. Granted audiences might go just to see puppets act raunchy and use profanity however, is that enough to hold a film together for 90 mins? No it certainly isn’t. As much as I love the comedic stylings of Elizabeth Banks, Mya Rudolph, Joel McHale and especially Melissa McCarthy, the film audiences anticipate being the funniest of the year is surely not. Even with a big cast of comedians couldn’t save this film. Perhaps films involving puppets and ridiculous plots should be left to that of children audiences. If you were to stitch together all of the comical scenes in every trailer for the film, you would basically see it all. In my opinion you might want to skip this one and wait for it to come to a Redbox near you.
2 out of 5 stars.
Second Review by Ryan Guerra
The Happytime Murders is one part noir detective film. One part buddy cop film. One part Team America: World Police. With a splash of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Directed by Brian Henson, the story is about a former puppet detective turned private investigator who starts looking into the murders of the cast of a popular 80s TV show. As the investigation gets close to home, the puppet private investigator finds himself working with his former detective partner Melissa McCarthy and hilarity ensues. Parents be warned, just because there are puppets, doesn’t mean this film is made for kids.
If you decide to watch this film, understand what you are walking into. Adult puppet humor. And when I say adult, I mean raunchy. The film wastes no time placing the puppets overly sexual situations which scores easy laughs at the absurdity and shock value. Disappointedly, the jokes in the film lack variety as we keep find ourselves in raunchy situations for easy laughs. It left me wanting to see the magnificent display of puppetry evolve into more comical situations that did not revolve around sex and drugs. After all, the puppeteers did a masterful job of creating a realistic world where humans and puppets co-exist. I wanted to see more of it.
As for the actors, I am happy to report that most did not phone in their performances. In fact, both Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph delivered fun performances that helped solidify the world of Happytime could actually be real. The voice work on the puppets was excellent as well.
In the end, I would not call The Happytime Murders a “good film” or even a “bad one.” It is raunchy but fun, has excellent puppetry and even good performances. I can easily see it becoming a cult classic when released for home viewing.
3 stars out of 5