I have a motto that everyone should heed, and I believe that saying is “Don’t be a d*ck.” “The Happytime Murders” is a mean-spirited, ugly, cliche-filled, lazy, and lousy comedy that thinks just because a puppet smokes, drops F-bombs, and has sex, means it’s funny. Look at “Ted” or “Sausage Party;” they both didn’t rely on those just those elements, they relied on the heart and the very idea that no kids movie would feature them.
The movie takes place in a world where puppets and humans co-exist. Wow! This is the first movie to do so. Despite the popular sitcom “The Happytime Gang,” they mostly get the sh*t end of the stick. Even the show’s producer (Michael McDonald, the comedian, not the singer) thinks they’re stupid. Nowadays, they rely on sugar (drugs), crime, and prostitution for survival; until someone murders them one-by-one.
Puppeteer Bill Barretta (best known for Pepe the Prawn, Rowlf, Swedish Chef, or Dr. Teeth) plays Phil, a washed-out puppet detective, who is disgraced for accidentally killing another puppet during a shoot-out gone wrong (“Puppets don’t kill puppets”). He knows someone is murdering members of “The Happytime Gang,” and he has to team up with his human ex-partner (Melissa McCarthy, also a producer). They practically spend most of the movie arguing and dropping F bombs. This is not “The Heat.” Trust me.
One of the movies it was inspired by was “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” when cartoons and humans co-exist. Before I found out it made the wrong decision to be a raunchy comedy, I figured that if it was a kids movie, maybe we could see cameos from The Muppets or Sesame Street. Who knows? Maybe Fozzie or Miss Piggy want to cameo on Sesame Street, as a friend of mine would have wanted, but no. We just had to see an octopus milk off a cow and Phil dropping silly string.
We also get humans who are also wasted. Joel McHale plays an FBI agent, who becomes the victim of McCarthy’s “Assholes say What?” jokes. Obviously, he was better in “Ted.” Maya Rudolph plays Phil’s secretary, who has a thing for Phil, and thinks eating one of McCarthy’s bananas is funny. And Elizabeth Banks plays the only human on the show, who now serves as a stripper, and dated Phil. When she appears to have died in an explosion, I pretty much knew she would survive, and her character ends like a fly swap.
Almost every scene has to feature characters cursing, punching, kicking, and just being plain d*cks. And cheesy special effects and lazy writing have to morph with them. Again, there are raunchy comedies of its kind that don’t O.D. on them, and this movie is not one of them.
The film was made by Brian Henson, the son of the late great Jim Henson, whose credits also include “Muppet Treasure Island” and “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” He is capable of making fun Muppet movies, producer or director, but here, he apparently has reached a new low. I recently thought “Tag” and “The Spy Who Dumped Me” were terrible R-rated comedies, and they are, but I’m not surprised that “The Happytime Murders” is a mess.
☠️ Poison for the Mind (0/4)
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