So, The Happytime Murders AIN’T the Muppets we grew up with. Matter of fact, none of the classic Muppets’re in the movie, so you don’t have to worry about your childhood being ruined with this. Given that, like Spongebob, the Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, yada, yada (just because it’s on the tube on the Nick station doesn’t mean it’s kid-friendly…sorry to burst your bubble, THM AIN’T FOR KIDS! There’s just as many F-bombs, if not more, than any Tarantino movie, there Muppets getting their heads blown off, a Muppet getting dismembered by a couple dogs, and a whole bunch of un-PCness I wouldn’t want to have to explain to my kid. Those of you who saw Seed of Chucky in the day, this is THAT movie in a dramedy noire setting.
Brian Henson, the late legendary Muppet creator Jim Henson’s son, finally got around to making this edgier Muppet-entric movie that’s apparently been floating around the studio for a couple DECADES. This means Henson Sr. COULD’VE known about the idea floating around, I don’t know, it might’ve been after he died in ’90. Joey, who hated THM, doesn’t think Henson Sr.’d let the movie be made even though he pushed the kid-friendly envelope, IMO, back in the day with films like Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, and Black Cauldron. Even some skits on The Muppet Show where Crazy Harry blows up a hapless Muppet were on the primetime (kid time) slot.
To the younger Henson’s credit, he created Henson Alternative to distance his father’s legacy from the adult-oriented Muppet fare, hence, no Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, or Fozzie.
THM centers around someone’s bumping off the characters from The Happytime Gang, a popular puppet TV show. It’s up to PI Phil Philips (puppeteered and voiced by Bill Barretta), a Muppet and his ex-partner, Officer Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy), to find out who’s the perp. The thing is they can’t get along, because of history.
Like all the Muppet movies dating back to ‘79’s The Muppet Movie, Henson continues to meld humans with the Muppets in THM, which lends itself to the prejudice theme…AND, THAT’S WHERE THM MESHES WITH HENSON SR.’S ORIGINAL MUPPET IDEA…ACCEPTANCE AND FORGIVENESS!
Yeah, the movie’s violent as hell, is vulgar as hell, and as un-PC as well…me. BUT, the message’s there, all within a pretty good noire story. You have your PI, you’ve got your femme fatale in Sandra White (voiced by Dorien Davies), your red herring, and your twist. Oh yeah, and Melissa McCarthy, who I normally loathe, actually did well.
If the Muppet in a R-rated movie thing’s your hang up to seeing THM, if seeing Muppets doing un-PC things like snorting pixie stick dust or the aforementioned violence and cussing, then, don’t see it. BUT, if your up for an adult lesson in tolerance, acceptance, and forgiveness, give THM a go.
Be good to each other.