Review of the movie The Happytime Murders (2018)

“Noir gone porn with puppets”

“Noir is a genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.   It includes films or books that show the world as being unpleasant, strange, or cruel.”  Dictionary definition.

This adult spoof movie had potential to be a passable film noir movie.   It had the trappings of noir without the substance.   It had the deadpan disgraced detective puppet turned private investigator (well voiced by Bill Barretta), the tense relationship between the detective and his human female partner/former lover/candy addict (played by Melissa McCarthy), the dutiful discrete human secretary (played by Maya Rudolph) who had the detective’s back, etc.    I liked Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters, Spy, Brides Maids, Life of the Party, The Heat, and The Boss.

The technical part with the green screens and the puppets and their voices were excellent work as in all Muppet work, but I believe a movie with puppets could have been done without the extremely overt sex acts though.

However, the title was misleading, implying that a child could see it.   I saw Muppets on the DVD cover and didn’t realize that it was rated “R”.   It was just a matter of time when porn came to puppetry.

Animation has been into adult themes for the last 20 years with The Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy, South Park, Futurama, etc.   Parents have had a losing battle finding television shows or movies that young children can see where children are not telling their parents to “eat their shorts.”   Disney’s “Snow White” was adult enough with showing little children a witch who fed Snow White a poisoned apple.  The many renditions of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” in books and movies may be frightening to young children.

One theme in the movie is racism in which a puppet says, “all I do is sing and dance” and that theme is repeated by humans who don’t care that the puppets have been killed.   Other themes include puppets in the sex trade, puppets as endangered species, puppets in addiction, puppets tortured by bullies on the street with no recourse, puppets gambling, etc.

“Murders” implies that there will be killing.   Seems like all of the puppets get killed by being gunned down, exploded, overdosing on candy, etc.; especially the ones who were prior puppet stars of the Happytime television program.

I remember watching Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Electric Company, etc. when my child was young.   Today, children know more about technology than their parents do and are able to access what they want.

Wikipedia calls it “a 2018 American black comedy crime film” in which “puppets and humans co-exist”, but not well.   But, if you like this kind of movie, this is your chance.

The movie, “The Happytime Murders” (2018), was directed by Brian Henson, produced by a multitude of people including Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, Brian and Lisa Henson, etc.; story by Todd Berger and Dee Austin Robertson; and screen play written by Todd Berger.

Source:  https://IMdB.com

Written by Rosa L. Griffin