movie review

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (2018)

The Happytime Murders

2018, US 

Director: Brian Henson

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Maya Rudolph

Viewed: Streaming

Transfer Quality: Lame

You’d think that an R-rated, foul-mouthed, raunchy Jim Henson Muppet movie would be a side splitting, tear inducing, pants-wetting laugh riot, but somehow they failed utterly.

The movie takes place in an alternate reality where “Puppets” are marginalized citizens…unlike the real world where Muppets live along side us in harmony. A former LA cop turned hard-boiled puppet P.I. by the unamusing name of Phil Phillips bops around the city trying to figure out who is behind a string of hits being carried out on Puppet celebrities. Along the way, he enlists the help of his former partner, played by Melissa McCarthy. Of course, they both already have a major grudge against each other because that’s how the laws of nature work in the derivative buddy-cop universe.

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Like a lot of people, I had high hopes for this. When the trailer came out and that hilarious silly-string ejaculation scene, which was played in its entirety in an inept marketing misfire, was about as funny as it gets. However, the trailer went viral and everyone interested in the movie saw it a nine million times months before it was even released. In the end, they literally blew their load by previewing the funniest parts.

The rest of the movie suffers from a lack of comedic timing. The pace is sluggish and somehow jokes just come out lifeless, awkward, and forced; as if they were over-confident that the premise could carry the laughs alone. Brian Henson doesn’t seem to put a lot of passion into the film. Even the “Puppets” aren’t up to the usual Henson quality. They seemed like knock-offs, which might have been the point, but they seem too clunky. I mean, let’s face it, aside from the elaborate Dark Crystal characters, the average Muppet must cost the Henson’s maybe $3.00 to build. He could have tried a little higher to respect his dad’s legacy.

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Melissa McCarthy is savagely annoying and obnoxious, but I’m not going to go that much further into it. The old Muppet films were funnier and edgier without any obscenity. This is a bad movie that had the opportunity and resources to be good. Consider how the Henson’s knocked The Dark Crystal out of the park on Netflix. This, however, is a case of a pitch that looked good on paper but was then followed up with lackluster execution.

I don’t usually post bad reviews, but I wanted to make sure no one sees this by accident.

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