“The Happytime Murders” was directed by Brian Henson and stars Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Maya Rudolph and Elizabeth Banks. The film is about a string of murders based around a puppet TV show that leads to two ex-partners, one detective and one puppet who is hated by the entire police force, that must come together to find out who is behind them.
I was quite excited by the concept of this movie, especially with it bringing in big names like McCarthy, Banks and Joel McHale as human characters to surround the puppets. Something about an R-rated, raunchy puppet movie made me very hopeful, and I came in hoping to get a whole lot of laughs above anything else.
McCarthy is pretty much the only good thing this movie has. Amongst all the crap, McCarthy finds ways to implement her quippy humor very well into quite a few scenes, which is made even more impressive by the amount of bad jokes surrounding her. The vulgarity helps her lines more than it hurts, and though she has a few duds, she hits on her lines far more than anyone else in the film.
I don’t know, man, I guess the puppetry is good? The puppets move well, they look good, so credit to all the people who had to wear green suits while the puppets said a bunch of really awful bits of dialogue.
Hmm, I guess Rudolph isn’t too bad? Hard to say she’s a full positive, but she certainly shined for not being a trainwreck on screen, so kudos to her.
This film is an abomination to comedy, trading clever writing and smart delivery for debauchery and sex jokes. Henson finally got the opportunity to turn puppets into something for a more adult audience, and he blows his chance to do anything remotely good with it in every single scene of the movie.
There is not one good joke anywhere that doesn’t come from McCarthy, not one that made me laugh whatsoever. Todd Berger handles the screenplay here, horribly, and he truly does not seem to know a thing about how to make people laugh. The R-rating that had me so excited ended up completely destroying this movie, as Berger replaces jokes for the most vulgar thing he could think of, and it just comes off as nasty rather than funny.
Berger may be the most to blame here, he’s batting about three percent on his jokes here, but Barretta might just be worse. He really should stick to Pepe and The Swedish Chef, because as Phil Phillips, he is a total trainwreck. The writing is absolutely bad, but the delivery does it no favors, as Barretta sounds asleep on the mic throughout almost every punchline. I get it, you’re a rugged, beat down ex-cop, but have some damn enthusiasm, and Barretta absolutely has none of it in this movie.
The plot is dumb, too, so there’s that. Not that I expected “The Departed” levels of intrigue in this detective movie, but you think it would have some interesting ideas or creative concepts considering half the cast is made of felt. Instead, the movie quickly does little to nothing puppet related aside from a drug or semen joke here and there, completely wasting all potential to create something new and fun with this idea.
Henson seems to have some themes early on about puppets being a metaphor for racism early on, and, much like “Bright” did, this movie failed miserably to build on any larger themes within that opening idea. Puppets are often low-lifes and addicts here, but the movie isn’t close to smart enough to make anything out of that, instead looking for the next body fluid on the checklist to make a joke of.
Above all, “The Happytime Murders” are a big, fat, horrifying disappointment in every way imaginable. McCarthy saves her reputation with a good performances among the crap, but nearly every single piece that isn’t her is hot garbage. The jokes range from terrible to offensive, including one that shows a hairy puppet vagina that I now have to live with for the rest of my life. The writing is horrible, and the story does its baseline concept no favors at all. This movie is simply an unpleasant, grotesque watch, and one I cannot recommend to anyone except someone who has some a fetish for puppets.
Avoid “The Happytime Murders,” it is not even close to as funny as it should be.
What did you think of “The Happytime Murders”? Comment below with your thoughts.