With R rated comedies like The Happytime Murders, you just hope they take advantage of the freedom they have to do whatever that rating allows. Doing that doesn’t guarantee that the movie will be good, but you can at least see the potential for it to get a positive reaction from the audience. With this particular product, I think there could be a positive response from at least a few, but I don’t believe the majority will spend their time in the theater all that happy.
Set in a world where humans and puppets attempt coexist, a puppet named Phil Philips makes his living as a private investigator. For his latest case, he seeks to uncover who is behind a series of puppet murders. Joining him on his search for the truth is Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy), a detective and former partner of the puppet when he was on the force. As a team, the duo gather evidence in this complicated case while doing all they can to avoid danger as they come to understand the truth behind their sordid past.
The Happytime Murders is basically a movie that relies on one major gimmick that could have worked if the comedy was any good. The tone and style are fine, but the jokes are lacking far more than one would hope they would. That’s something that I find to happen frequently these days in comedy. Many of the other aspects are done well enough, but the most important part can’t come close to keeping up.
In terms of the other features of this movie, none of it jumps out at you. There are puppets, but that’s all that separates this from anything else you might see involving a private investigator trying to solve a mystery. I don’t know if that’s what you want from a movie like this. That’s possible, but I’m assuming most would want something fresh and original to go along with this kind of idea. Instead, we get something that would essentially the same movie if you replaced the puppets with humans.
The best thing about The Happytime Murders is that it’s short. The credits start rolling at about eighty minutes in, so you don’t have to waste too much time at the theater watching this. That’s refreshing as well since we’re in an age when stretching movies out too much is a normal and even expected practice. So if you decide to take a chance on this, you won’t be in there too long.
Letting movies end when they should by getting rid of most of the unnecessary stuff is always welcome, but it didn’t prevent this specific movie from failing. In order to achieve success, The Happytime Murders needed better comedy. Just about everything else is here, but that’s obviously the thing that it required more than anything. If that had been improved, you’re looking at a movie that’s at least enjoyable even if it still isn’t telling a fresh story.
Director: Brian Henson
Film Length: 91 minutes
Release Date: August 24, 2018
- Score - 3/103/10