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  • Don Ford

Don Reviews "The Happytime Murders"

I love shows with puppets co-existing with human actors, like “Sesame Street”, “Fraggle Rock”, and “The Muppet Show”. It is just neat seeing how puppets integrate into our world, and how their human counterparts react, and I am always impressed by the puppeteers who make these shows possible. It does beg the question, though: if that was to actually happen, how would puppets actually be treated in the real world?

“The Happytime Murders” is the latest film directed by Brian Henson (Word Party) and stars Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games and Pitch Perfect films), Maya Rudolph (SNL), Leslie David Baker (The Office), and Joel McHale (The Soup) as well as the talents of Bill Barretta, Dorien Davies, Kevin Clash, and Drew Massey. Set in Southern California, puppets co-exist with humans, but are considered to be second-class citizens. A puppet named Phil (Barretta) is living as a private investigator after being kicked off of the police force, and while working a case is a witness to a murder and ends up working with his former partner in Connie Edwards (McCarthy). As the case unfolds, they see a pattern where the victims are the cast from a former TV show.

The filming and cinematography here is fine for this style of film. McCarthy works the same type of role that she has done before in films like “Bridesmaids”, “Spy”, or “The Heat,” and she as well as Banks and Rudolph did fine. The puppeteers also do a good job, with Barretta creating a good tone for his character to the point where over time, I started to think of them as real people.

Just so we are clear here: do your research before seeing this film as it has a very adult nature. Even though there are puppets, “The Happytime Murders” features very adult humor and situations, and I really thought this film would be rated “NC-17” if they used humans instead of puppets in some of the scenes. There were literally times I was very speechless, and I love shows like “South Park” that live to offend, even though there is nothing out of bounds here, it does so with a basic plot, so leave your brain at the door. I truly did love this film even though they did some comedy that is not in the norm, so I will recommend his film as an afternoon showing in the theaters.

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