THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS
Written By Todd Berger and Dee Austin Robertson
Composed By Christopher Lennertz
Produced By Brian Henson, Jeffrey Hayes, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone
Edited By Brian Scott Olds
Directed By Brian Henson
Wow...just wow, I’ve just seen the saddest movie of the year. Now, this isn’t a sad movie or has any sad moments by any means...but this is a film that the critic side of me has a tear for something that has all the potential to be something great, but completely blew its opportunity when it had its moment to shine. All I can ask is 'how did things go wrong for 'The Happytime Murders''?!
Now, the reason why it’s sad is because it’s got all the right materials and all the right people to make something good since some strengths are presentable like the puppetry and how they seamlessly (no pun intended) blend in with the real world-this is mostly down to director Brian Henson being the best man to direct a feature set in a world where humans and puppets live together from his work on past projects like 'The Muppet Christmas Carol' and 'Muppet Treasure Island' while knowing the perfect puppeteers who can deliver fun and believable performances with them...what do you expect from the son of the one and only Jim Henson himself?! I’ll even go as far to say that Phil Phillips was a great character and has the funniest moments with his cynical wit along with Maya Rudolph and Leslie David Baker...even Melissa McCarthy did well in this despite me not being a fan of her previous projects whether film or television. So at this point, where did it go wrong?
If there’s one thing that can destroy a movie with good actors, a good director and one that is visually pleasing...it would have to be a bad script and this one was total crap by using the most bland and unoriginal detective story that has ever been put in a movie right down to the point of incorporating all the clichés that come with it the package-trust me, guessing who the villain of the story is was a lot easier than you might think. It's basically like if you took everything that 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' already did and succeeded with, but did everything wrong!
Now, I’m sure a lot of people are wondering about the comedy...with a story as bland and unoriginal as this, is it at least funny film? For most of the movie, no. I got some laughs out of Phil’s snarky remarks, but a lot of the jokes end up flat...and this is sadly not as raunchy or extreme as you think since all the nastiest parts are in the red band trailer and the rest is just puppets going “F**k you” or reusing the “sugar is puppet cocaine” gag.
I wouldn’t go as far to say that this is the worst movie of the summer, but 'The Happytime Murders' is one of the biggest wastes of a golden opportunity. It may have great puppetry and puppeteers, a great director with some good actors doing their best with the characters they’re playing...but it had such a terrible script that there was nothing that anyone could do to save it.
If you want an actually GOOD version of 'The Happytime Murders', just watch The Muppet Show episode that guest starred Liza Minnelli...or like I said earlier, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' which succeeded in every area this film failed in. You can sacrifice the R-rating, but you do have good comedy and a good ending twist in exchange. I didn't expect much from this movie, but I can definitely say that this mystery of lost potential is best remained unsolved...