I loved Sesame Street as a kid (before that stupid fairy was introduced) and I’ve seen the Muppet movies (Muppet Treasure Island is the best!). So hearing that Jim Henson’s company was doing an R-rated movie with puppets was interesting. I give props to the Jim Henson Company for doing this because if it was just some other random studio parodying the Muppets it would just feel standard. Unlike Meet the Feebles which took place in an anthropomorphic and where all the characters were puppets, the puppets in the Happytime Murders are literal puppets.
The caste particularly three of them help make the movie enjoyable. Phil Philips played by Jim Henson puppeterr Bill Barretta does a good job being grumpy but also funny. His ex-partner Detective Connie Edwards played by Melissa McCarthy is good too though it’s Melissa McCarthy she’s usually enjoyable. They both work off each other very well and are fun to watch. Phil’s secretary Bubbles played by Maya Rudolph is also really enjoyable. The humor is hit and miss for me. Most of the jokes (in the trailers too) are swearing, and vulgar (silly spray cum, really?). However some good comedy comes from the fact that there are puppets, for example Phil’s twin brother gets torn apart by dogs. It’s not gory like Meet the Feebles it’s all fluff. I’d totally see a puppet die like that.
Spoiler warning since this is a mystery movie. The trouble with mystery movies is that it’s obvious who the villain is. At the beginning of the movie Phil is asked by a female puppet named Sandra to investigate who’s murdering the Happytime gang members. It turns out that she was murdering them so get revenge on Phil for accidently shooting her dad. I feel like her reasons for killing the cast members to get to Phil feel very convoluted and it makes for a weak story.
The flashback scene is probably my favorite scene because of how it ties a lot of plot elements together. Earlier Edwards mentions having a puppet liver, this is assumed to set up a gag but then you find out that she got it from getting shot and taken to a puppet hospital. The flashback also shows why Phil got fired, why puppets aren’t allowed on the force, and the villain’s motivations.
The puppeteering while it doesn’t stand out is still pretty good considering it’s from the Jim Henson Company. THM is a decent Muppet parody at best. It’s definitely better than MTF in every way (I’ve neverheard of MTF til the day I saw THM).
+ The Cast
+ The flashback
+/- The humor
– Weak mystery and story