Happy Time Murders - 2018
Director(s): Brian Henson
Writer(s): Todd Berger and Dee Austin Robertson
Cinematography by: Mitchel Amundsen
Editor(s): Brian Scott Olds
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph, Leslie David Barker, Bill Barretta, Dorien Davies, Kevin Clash and Drew Massey
I remembered when puppets ran the world… to some extent. Way before the use and sometimes over use of CGI, puppets were the gold-standard for when you wanted a creature or an otherworldly character created. Also, with the popularity of Sesame Street and The Muppets and you were hard pressed not to run into a puppet from the early-70s all the way to the mid-90s. Cut to present day and this art form has dwindled down significantly, so I understand the idea that inspired this movie; what if we made an R rated movie… with puppets!? It’s never been done before! They certainly earned their R rating but completely forgot to make a good movie. Let’s talk about it.
The story centers around Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta), a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private-eye puppet. He is hired by Sandra (Dorien Davies) to investigate who is trying to blackmail her. During this investigation, he is caught up in the middle of a string of murders of the cast members from the TV show hit, “The Happytime Gang”. As the killings begin to pile up he is forced to reunite with his former LAPD partner Det. Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) as they try to find the killer before it’s too late. When I say “story” I mean it in the most basic sense of the word. I use it loosely since this is used as a prop for them to hold up as many raunchy, dirty, immatures joke as they can possibly put without it sounding like three high teenagers pitching a movie to each other.
With the story being so predictable and overdone, my attention will be drawn to the jokes, and I wish they had a better story because these “jokes” are cringeworthy. They were too worried or too focused on being as “R rated” as possible that they skipped over the funny part and just went for the “R rated” hoping that just the fact that they are puppets saying/doing these things would be funny. I’m not saying they shouldn’t take advantage of the absurdity of the puppets acting like sick perverted humans, what I’m saying is, if you don’t think you would get a laugh if it wasn’t a puppet then it’s probably not a funny joke. They also beat jokes to the ground, overusing them throughout the movie to the point that you see them coming a mile away.
Quick note: the cinematography of this movie is just ugly and bland. There are TV shows currently on air that have better cinematography. The green screen at times is painfully obvious as well.
Happy Time Murders is an unoriginal, played-out comedy that worries too much on being dirty and forgets that they have an audience to entertain both with a good story and funny jokes. I honestly didn’t laugh once during the entire runtime and it was a fight on my end to stay awake. I usually try to be positive and give something that I liked about the movie, but as much as I would like to point out a positive I find it hard to find one. You are better off watching any noir movie its ripping off, any Muppets movie that is infinitely funnier and you are better off saving your money. I swear I love movies.
Happy Time Murders is currently playing in theaters. Don’t.
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