The Happytime Murders is what happens when an excellent premise gets relied on too heavily, so you end up with 90 minutes of the same joke over and over again. It’s not nearly as fun as the trailer makes it seem, but it is oh so much filthier.
When the trailer came out I was excited as can be, as I’m a big Melissa McCarthy fan and the idea of dirty puppets in a noir setting seems like a win from the get-go. However before making it to the cinema, my friend mentioned she’d heard it wasn’t very good so I had the foresight to Google its rating. Currently standing at 22% on Rotten Tomatoes I readjusted my expectations before heading inside, hoping that like the equally panned Mummy film it would be shit but still fun to watch.
This was a smart move.
There is a lot of things that the Happytime Mudrers gets right, and a unique premise means that none of it feels cliche in the beginning. However by the time the credits roll you’ll have seen the same joke about nine times. The film relies on the fact that half of its cast are puppets heavily so there isn’t a moment they don’t make a joke of it. A smarter way to play this would have been to have a normal detective film, with occasional nods to the fact there are puppets. The audience has eyes so we don’t constantly need to be reminded of this.
If there is one thing you do need to be prepared for is how much filth there is in this, as an R16 feels like a generous use of the rating systems. One scene going so far as to have a squid jerking off a cow for what I assume is milk play in a porn den. Seriously you will never been unable to see this, and the image will haunt me until the day I die.
For all of its problems though the human cast really bring their A-game, and no faults can be found in McCarthy and Maya Rudolph’s performances. Playing a lock picking in-love-with-her-detective-boss secretary Rudolph steals any scene she is in and is easily the best thing about the film. Following a close second is McCarthy as the cop with a puppet liver dealing with her sugar addiction.
Overall I can’t in good faith advise you to pay money to go and see this at the cinema, as if you have the time there are plenty of other films out at the moment that’d be better. That said it’s still worth a watch, just wait until it comes out on TV. 2/5.