Release: August 24, 2018
Director: Brian Henson
Screenplay: Todd Berger
Starring: Melissa McCarthy as Connie Edwards, Bill Barretta as Phil Phillips, Maya Rudolph as Bubbles, Dorien Davies as Sandra White, Leslie David Baker as Lt. Banning, and Joel McHale as Special Agent Campbell
Running Time: 91 minutes
Set in a world where puppets are living beings and are treated like second class citizens, The Happytime Murders is a dark comedy crime film that tells the story of a disgraced puppet cop turned private investigator who is, along with his former partner, tasked with investigating the murders of several members of a puppet television show. In premise, The Happytime Murders reminds me more than a little of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In practice, however, it comes across as a movie written by a group of 4Chan denizens to rankle some neo-puritans. Now, I’m not against offending people. Hell, given the weird neo-puritan direction that this country has been headed since around 2010, offending people is now more important than it has been in quite some time. However, being offensive and vulgar shouldn’t come at the expense of a decent story, which is the unfortunate case with The Happytime Murders. Of course, this is a comedy film, and a weak story could be forgiven if the jokes were funny, but they’re incredibly hit and miss. Yes, there were some bits that made me chuckle, but they were woefully few and far between. Unless you are some sort of puppet enthusiast who feels compelled to imbibe any and all puppet-related content, I can’t recommend this movie for anything more than a cursory viewing as a sheer morbid curiosity.