Movie THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS review: the movie that can confuse even fans of black humor

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Movie THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS review: the movie that can confuse even fans of black humor

Photo credit: - Edition by Amber255 via

Greetings my dear readers! I just came home from the new comedy THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS. At the same evening,  straight away I am writing a review of this movie. The director Brian Henson, author of the idea for the popular The Muppets Showreturned to the big cinema with another story of black humor about the world of people and puppets.

Where The Happytime Murders excels is in its humour, because it's very, very funny. But more than that, it's filthy. Utterly, gloriously, unapologetically, deeply, darkly, sexually filthy. - CineVue


Imagine Mupetts who drink, take drugs, and engage in unsafe sex. Then watch it all in the comedy THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS. It is shown only to those who are 18 years old. The history of well-known and beloved Mappets began more than sixty years ago when American puppeteer Jim Henson and his wife Jane created the first puppets, which later became extremely popular in the Sesame Street and in the comedy series The Muppets Show. The frog Kermit with his friends continues to entertain children and adults around the world, but this film is not about them. This obscene black humor's orgy tells about other puppets. To put it mildly.

The dirty, obscene, in my opinion, even politically incorrect, and hysterically funny comedy THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS  started in Lithuania on the 24th of August. 

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS Official Trailer (2018)  -  Video credit: Movie Trailers Source via

 The Short Story Of The Movie 

In the not prestigious part of Los Angeles, where tourists are never stepping in, people and puppets have long been living together. There boils the life of its small criminals, hooligans, fakers, deceivers, and scammers. One day, the region is shocked by the brutal murder of a puppet. A brother of a private detective and a former police office Phil is being killed.  Soon another puppet is killed. One more. And one more.

Actors in The Happytime Murders - Photo credit:

It turns out that the serial killer methodically kills the actors from the very popular TV series The Happytime Gang. Realizing that another victim in the killer's list may at any time become his former love Jenin (Elizabeth Banks), Phil swears to catch the perpetrator. Together with the former police partner, Connie Edward (Melissa McCarthy), with whom he has a common secret, Phil runs to hunt a mysterious killer. But the further investigation continues, the more and more evidence shows that it was the Phil himself.

I always wanted to keep it real as much as I could, real so the moments are believable, so that it’s not just shocking for shocking’s sake and yet allow it to be as naughty and raunchy as it could go, naturally and organically. I think of it as a guilty pleasure, that it’s for adults to have a guilty pleasure experience. They know they’re going to a safe space, there’s no kids, and we’re going to go ahead and do with puppets what you never thought you’d see puppets do.  - BRIAN HENSON


The Content of The Movie 

 I have never been a big fan of The Muppets Show, so I looked at this project in exactly the same way as to the films that I most often associate with random choices. Apparently, it is often necessary to react neutrally to poor film projects, of which I do not expect anything. This was the case with THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS. 

The concept of the movie itself is at first glance something similar to Seth MacFarlane film Ted. However, it's just a similar looking sheath, which hides vulgar, and because of its banal jokes, the very tasteless movie. First of all, what I would like to mention is humor. It cames here from several parts - puppets, human sexual relations, and very banal dialogues. If the sex was still somehow bearable, then the phrases spoken by the heroes of the movie were simply deplorable. 


Joel McHale and Leslie David Baker in The Happytime Murders  -  Photo credit:

You know, I am not against vulgar films and good black humor. Just it's not very funny when almost all characters all the time send each other on three letters, use drugs, and offer to pamper in oral sex for 50 cents anyone who is ready to pay. I am talking enough gently, but I hope you understand what I wanted to say. Sometimes it seemed that the script for the film was written by a teenager when he first heard some Eminem songs.

If to put aside all bad humor, we have a good detective story, which is somewhat confusing, but if you closely follow the situation on the screen, you can easily understand who is responsible for all the massacres. But at least the story layout was not boring, although predictable.

Puppets in The Happytime Murders - Photo credit:

In the film, one can see the purposeful social message related to all kind of stars whose sluttish life can bring them to the bottom. You can also see a very clear approach to the racial differences in contemporary society. At that point, this tape improves its reputation, which was damaged by an odious humorous part. 

The characters in the film are not very memorable. The only thing that caused some emotion was Detective Connie, whose character's type was anti-feminine in many aspects. I do not want to mention any aspect because this can be some kind of storytelling. Some kind of humor was created on those few features of her character.


Movie review The Happytime Murders  -  Photo credit:

There are a lot of puppet characters here, so it's really not necessary to mention them, except detective Phil. He is disgusting and has very low self-esteem. He sniffs everything that resembles a powder; he kicks everything that finds under his feet, and, of course, he curses more than any shoemaker without any morale. And such a degenerate is trying to seek justice? It's terribly funny.

And so, we can say that the storyline is a standard detective story. Standard is a perfect epitome for describing what we see on the screen. The plot is not anything special or very involving. Even the unexpected storyline's turns did not surprise. The story itself has been seen many times, and I wonder if you really want to see yet another ordinary detective story. 


Black humor comedy The Happytime Murders - Photo credit:

The already mentioned puppets brought a fresh gust to the detective story. The presence of puppets is not fully used. It looks not funny the wish to amaze spectators with puppets that smoke, use drugs, make love or curse. But if it's fun in the first part of the movie, then it gets boring.  It even looks like the developers did not quite know what could be done with those puppets.

The absurd scenes, like the creation of a pornographic film or the Makroflex that pops up in Phil's office, were the highest sluttish points of humor in this band. All the other humor was constructed on the dark jokes about the butt. But for the comedy of the toilet humor, the dolls are completely unnecessary. So, once again, we can point out that developers of comedy THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS in the analysis of social issues, in plot and humor, did not entirely convince why people could not replace puppets in this movie.

Interview with Happytime Murders' Goofer - Video credit: Toronto Sun via

The Technical Side Of The Movie 

Technically, it was the movie not so easy to implement. Almost everything was shot at green screens with real puppets, so naturalness and good-looking special effects are not forgotten here. The technical side of the movie, especially with dolls, is great. If you have already decided to give this movie a chance and to wait till its very end, wait until titles begin because then you will see a few behind-the-scenes shots, how the film was created and how the puppeteers work.

This piece of work has been really well done, but there is nothing to be amazed about, as the tape director Brian Henson is a representative of the puppet dynasty, who has worked very well with the same Muppets.


The scene of  The Happytime Murders - Photo credit:

The soundtrack is pleasant to the ears, it is good. Particular attention was paid to the popular Stealers Wheel song Stuck in the Middle With You. It was also possible to hear Nappy Roots hit Good Day and Bow Wow I Want Candy.

The camera work left to me a good impression. Especially when it comes to puppets and their presentation in this film. The quick moves of the camera have brought a distinct charm to the action scenes, which is really good, given the totality of the story.

I cannot complain about montage works because they were neither special nor damaged the preview because of mistakes. Therefore, both the narrative presentation and sound reinforcement during shooting did not cause any discomfort.

While reading a new movie review, please check the QUERLO CHAT: 

The Collective Work Of The Actors

Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy played a leading role in the film, which in recent years does not create anything special, so we have to enjoy her grimaces and stupidity again and again. Here she crossed even the boundaries of her decency by incarnating the Connie. In terms of performance, it's the same Melissa, which we can see in every comedy film project from 2011.


Melissa McCarthy in The Happytime Murders - Photo credit:

On the second plan's roles were the amazing Elizabeth Banks, comedian Maya Rudolph, Leslie David Baker, and frequent guest of comedies Joel McHale. They all appeared briefly, so it's simply not possible to blame or praise their appearances.

Puppets' sound was recorded well in the film.


Bill Barretta in The Happytime Murders - Photo credit:

On the Final Note - Verdict

It is the story in which the dolls are sluttish, they are addicted to alcohol and drugs, and they are ready to kill for money. In THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS puppets are not joy in kids' entertainments like their relatives Muppets. These puppets live in an inhospitable and violent world. They are suffering from depression, addiction, and a constant reminder that they are only minor members of society.  In a world of the movie, people despise puppets and count them as subordinate beings. 

On the one hand, I am glad that the comedy of black humor tries to touch social issues. The puppets rejection by the human public can be linked to the manifestations of homophobiaracism or other hatred for minorities in our society. 


Brian Henson with puppets of the movie The Happytime Murders  -  Photo credit:

However, the film has not used this line well. We see that dolls are abused, feel oppressed by people, but it's not entirely clear why people are behaving like this. The puppets themselves, although they are harassed, continue to live successfully in the world of people, behave like humans and live in a human way of life.  The development of this topic could have brought much more to this film, but it was only one of the casually added components of the work, and so completely unfulfilled.

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS is a movie bearing a strong social message about the inequality of races, but it's too banal and rather disgusting for its banal humor, which can confuse even the most loyal fans of black humor.

Although "The Happytime Murders" isn't much fun to watch, it was clearly a blast to make. - San Francisco Chronicle


Throughout the review, I have been saying that it was possible to do better, to make more effort, to make it to the end. That's the feeling after this movie. The potential has really been there, but the final result seems somewhat dull and chaotic.

Have fun watching!!!


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