The less said about this adult puppet caper, the better
THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS
★ out of 5
Cast: Bill Barretta, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph
Director: Brian Henson
Duration: 1h31m What can be said about the very adult, not very funny film
The Happytime Murders? Well, it features a Los Angeles copturned-private-detective trying to solve the mounting homicides of the cast of a ’90s children’s show called The Happytime Gang.
Phil Philips, P.I. (Bill Barretta) is hard-drinking, hard-boiled and says hardly original things like: “I was a cop, and a damn good one.” The cast of The Happytime Gang — Elizabeth Banks is their most recognizable face — has fallen on hard times, addicted to various unhealthy substances and lifestyles, but stands to make a killing in royalty cheques as the show returns to TV. Hence the murders — the fewer survivors, the more each of them will make.
Philips’ former police partner is played by Melissa McCarthy, basically doing a version of her character from Heat, except that was written by Katie Dippold (Parks and Recreation), whereas this one comes from the pen of Todd Berger (The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow). McCarthy’s boss is a gruff lieutenant (Leslie David Baker) with a habit of suspending officers who don’t measure up; wish that Berger’s boss, director Brian Henson, had that kind of moxie.
The pair’s investigations take them into slums, drug dens, porn shops and strip clubs, all of them setting up two varieties of boring, fluid-based in-your-face humour: jokes you’ve probably seen done better elsewhere; and jokes you really don’t want to see done at all. Back at Philips’ Marloweesque office we meet his receptionist Bubbles (Maya Rudolph, wasted) and his client Sandra (Dorien Davies), a red-haired red herring.
The film’s frantic pace means you’ll be in and out of The Happytime Murders in 91 minutes; less if you leave before the credits, which include a brief music video and outtakes that aren’t any funnier than the main feature.
I can’t think of anything else to say about the film — oh, except that the cast is mostly puppets.