I was so excited about this movie. I love the concept of foul mouthed puppets living side by side in a human world. I mean hello, I did direct a production of Avenue Q a few years back. And Lord only knows how many times I’ve binged Greg the Bunny. And let’s not forget my favorite episode of Angel, Smile Time. So then what went wrong here?
The Happytime Murders follows a puppet PI who gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time when an adult store full of puppets are murdered. He reluctantly teams up with his old partner on the police force, Melissa McCarthy, to investigate as more plush people are killed. The link is the old tv show The Happytime Gang, now heading into syndication and financial security for the cast. Sounds good enough right?
The problem is the filmmakers seemed to settle for good enough. This is one of the laziest screenplays of the year. The mystery is cliche and predictable. The humor is mostly non-existent. Most jokes are built around “hey look at the puppet be lewd and disgusting”. That can only take you so far, and the filmmakers seemed content to just stay there. Again, I’m all for lewd puppets, but I want them to be clever little pervs. Again, Avenue Q.
There were a few moments that worked (I think Maya Rudolph can take credit for at least half of those), and the puppetry was really good. It’s just painfully apparent that all the effort went into the puppetry and they forgot that the script needed to be good too. Bummer.
The Happytime Murders – \m/ \m/