Jim’s son, the creator of the Muppets, Brian Henson revives the flame of cloth puppets. But confronts them to a different universe in The Happytime Murders.
Located in Los Angeles where humans and puppets coexist between tolerance and racism, the film features a private detective from a minority hit by a serial killer.
The latter seems to want to eliminate one by one the stars of a TV of puppets to success … Between film noir and trash comedy (very sexual, watch out for the audience too young!).
Henson first navigates exciting way, with a hilarious first half hour. Unfortunately, he does not stay the course until the end, the good gags become rare as progresses an action without much surprise.
The Happytime Murders is produced by STW Productions and directed by Brian Henson.
The son of Muppets creator Jim Henson. His trailer promises to show what the famous puppets do when the children do not look at them, with the punchline, “No sesame, that the street. ”
The complaint indicates that the trailer contains insults, profanations, drugs, mystery without right on the mark. “On the contrary, they distribute a deliberately misleading trailer” to make believe the implication.
In a statement to The Wrap, STX Productions says they trust their position, and regret that Sesame Street does not share their amusement.
The Happytime Murders will have cast Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks.
The Story: In a world where humans and puppets live together. Two “all-opposing” detectives must investigate together to solve a murder case against former stars of a popular puppet TV show.
Almost 15 years ago, Trey Parker and Matt Stone desecrated the world of puppets thanks to Team America: World Police. The Happytime Murders ventures more or less on the same terrain, except that in the universe that Brian Henson offers, puppets rub shoulders with humans.
Here we use the same pattern as in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but we replaced the comic characters with stuffed animals. And we plunge them into a much trash world.
Obviously, there is a desire to provoke – it is aimed at a well-informed public – but we do not push the approach far enough. The more audacious gags are indeed quickly offset by a police intrigue finally set with good feelings.
For some jokes of bad taste rather successful, others, however, fall completely flat.
Her main playing partner being a puppet, Melissa McCarthy does not have the easy task either. The effort she puts is sometimes too obvious.
Phil Phillips is a former police officer turned private investigator, but something sets him apart from other detectives. He is a puppet. That’s why the busty Sandra, who is also a puppet, chose her to investigate the blackmail she receives. Which threaten to expose her secret.
The investigation puts him on the trail of a serial killer who attacks the puppets who participated in a popular show of the 1980s.
The Happytime Murders opens on a scene that describes the relationship between puppets and humans. That clumsily copies the opening scene of the first episode of the Greg the Bunny series. The result is a cascade of childish gags that, for the most part, fall flat. I think I slapped myself less than a dozen times.
As if low-end humor was not enough, the screenplay copies all the tropes of black films that have a private detective as protagonist, so no surprises on this side.
The only original points of the film are some interactions with the puppets, but again. And as if that was not enough, most of the gags are in the trailer, including the closing gag of the movie.
From humans to puppets in The Happytime Murders
Melissa McCarthy, who embodies the human part of the duo, unfortunately delivers her text like a puppet. Her game seems forced and her puppet partner sometimes seems more humane than her.
I’m one of those who usually like the actress in her comic roles while the critics destroy her, but this time I found her rather weak.
On the side of the supporting actors, Maya Rudolph surprised me with her interpretation of the private detective. Joel McHale delivers a good performance that could have been expanded with more time on the screen. Elizabeth Banks delivers a drinkable benefit.
Leslie David Baker has managed to make me forget his role in The Office with his dynamism.
On the puppet side, the handling is superb. Bill Barretta does a masterful job with the character of Phil Phillips and I found myself missing his puppet status a few times.
Some scenes have even surprised me, but I will let you discover them, since it is about the rare fun moments of the film.
However, I did not like the visual effects when the director decided to go there with a distant shot that showed the legs of the puppets.
The Happytime Murders is a movie that, unfortunately, will soon be forgotten. With her easy gags, we are not about to see puppets on the big screen in an entertainment that is not for children …
Rating: R (for strong crude and sexual content and language throughout, and some drug material)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy
Directed By: Brian Henson
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph
Written By: Todd Berger, Dee Austin Robertson
In Theaters: Aug 24, 2018 Wide
On Disc/Streaming: Dec 4, 2018
The connoisseur of filth within me is pleased to report how wonderfully nasty much of the felted proceedings here are to behold.
With multiple scenes of drug-snorting and depraved puppet sex, including an admittedly hilariously drawn-out ejaculation scene…it’s worth emphasising that this is definitely not one for the kiddies.
A few critics are calling it the worst movie of the year. Unfair! This R-rated look at a serial killer running wild in a puppet-populated L.A., has what it takes to be a contender for worst of the decade.
This premise holds some promise, but The Happytime Murders is a joyless, soulless slog, wasting the efforts of co-stars Melissa McCarthy and Elizabeth Banks. (Only Maya Rudolph, playing Phil’s ditzy but puppet-tolerant secretary Bubbles, escapes pity.)