The Happytime Murders has taken over the slot–previously held by The Room–of being the single-worst movie of all time.
Brian Henson, son of the late Jim Henson, takes what we know about muppets and turns it on our heads. Oh wait. They aren’t muppets but Miskreant puppets from Henson Alternative. It makes no difference what the right term is because the film is the most subversive comedy of the year. If you can call it a film. Calling this a film is a disgrace to all films ever made including–yes–The Room. You know how you see a great SNL sketch only to watch them butcher its legacy by stretching it into a film? The Happytime Murders barely comes close to fitting the definition.
This garbage film is set in Los Angeles where puppets are second-class citizens to humans. Despite the discrimination, they behave very similar. No surprise there. What I can tell you about the plot are that members of The Happytime Gang are getting killed off. The series ran years ago and the cast is getting a combined $10 million as a part of a syndicated deal. Should someone die and have no spouse, the other cast members would see an increase in payment. Go figure that producer Ronovan Scargle (Michael McDonald) gets the better part of the deal.
There’s also the Phillips code in place within the police department. This is because Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta) accidentally shot the father of a little girl rather than someone trying to hurt his partner, Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy). Because of what happened, no puppet can work within the police force. Phillips has since become a private investigator. He takes on a puppet client, Sandra White (Dorien Davies) early on who received a letter threatening to reveal her secret. This secret being an addiction to sex.
Once the murders start going down, Lt. Banning (Leslie David Baker) hires Phillips as a consultant. This doesn’t sit well with the still-angry Edwards. They trade insults back and forth. It gets personal for Phillips when his brother, Larry (Victor Yerrid), gets killed.
The puppet murders in the film aren’t just any murders. They are the equivalent of what you would see in a flasher film if people were full of fluff. The first murder is a full-on massacre! Dogs see these puppets as chew toys!
One thing that caught my eye while Phillips was on the case is that we have the existence of transgender puppets. I made a mental note of this when Phillips enters Vinny’s Puppet Pleasureland adult bookstore and theatre. Among the names of those magazines that the owner reads: Puppet Chucks with Puppet Dicks. This clearly marks the existence of transgender puppets for the first time in history. It’s only unfortunate that it comes in this wretched film. I’m honestly not even sure if it’s meant to punch up or down with regards to the transgender community.
This brings me to another thing. Detective Edwards is a human. Due to an incident where then-detective Phillips badly aimed his gun, she gets shot and needs a new liver. This is where we have to suspend disbelief or something because Edwards receives a puppet liver transplant. Can somebody explain the science behind how she is still alive because I really don’t get this. The puppet liver leads to a sugar addiction. This may explain why she hoards so much maple syrup in her kitchen.
Not even the presence of Maya Rudolph as Phillips’ loyal secretary, Bubbles, could improve the film. FBI Special Agent Campbell (Joel McHale) is easily the biggest racist in the film. He’s also one of the most immature among the film’s humans. There’s a back-and-forth between Edwards and Campbell that would have been funny when I was in high school. This shows just how dated some of this humor is. Listen, I have experience in improv/sketch comedy. I wouldn’t even place this type of humor in a show because it’s immature at best. It’s not comedy but immature behavior.
Whoever decided to greenlit The Happytime Murders should be arrested for committing the crime of giving us felt-on-felt action. No matter how much I laughed at two puppets going at it, I’m rational enough to know it was pure garbage with cum going all over the place. There will never be another sex scene like this ever again.
Spare your eyeballs and see something else. Anything else. Maybe even read a good book.
DIRECTOR: Brian Henson
SCREENWRITERS: Todd Berger
CAST: Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Joel McHale, Maya Rudolph, Leslie David Baker, and Elizabeth Banks