By Adam Staten
Whether it is comedy, horror, action or any other genre, movies are intended to take our minds off of our present circumstances. They are supposed to serve as a two-hour vacation from the world around us by engrossing us in the story on the big screen so much that we forget everything else. Unfortunately, only a few movies are really truly able to accomplish such a task. For different people, it’s going to be different films that do such things; universal agreement in this area is highly unlikely. However, what isn’t highly unlikely is how badly one recently released film failed to take our minds off our problems or really anything at all.
Set in a world where humans and puppets coexist, The Happytime Murders is the story of puppets on a classic television show, “The Happytime Gang”, who are one-by-one, viciously and systemically murdered. Stuffing literally litters each crime scene as the once-beloved cast is brutally killed. There is only one man or puppet for such a job: hardboiled private investigator Phil Phillips.
Phillips is soon hot on the case. But the string of murders proves too much for one puppet and after one particularly cold, calculated murder, Phillips is forced to team up with his old partner, Detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy), a human. Edwards and Phillips have a complicated past but are forced to put it aside as their murder investigation takes them to the seedier parts of Los Angeles. What Phillips and Edwards soon come to realize is that the murderer was someone much closer than either of them had anticipated.
If you hadn’t picked it up, The Happytime Murders is a comedy, playing off the absurdity of puppets and humans investigating the murder of puppets. Get it? It’s funny, right? Not so much. The Happytime Murders was likely something that sounded pretty funny as an idea or even on paper but as an actual completed film, it’s not even remotely humorous. Every somewhat funny joke is given away in the trailer for the film and nothing else deserves even the slightest smirk.
In addition to not being even slightly funny, The Happytime Murders is lazily written. It’s simply a rehashing of every single hardboiled detective, buddy cop film but with puppets. The film is extremely one note, believing the audience is going to continually find the absurdity of the film funny. Sure, this may be the case for the first 10 minutes but give us something else and it never does.
The Happytime Murders had great comedic potential but it’s wasted by sheer laziness. 1 out of 5.