The Happytime Murders 2018 ***

The Happytime Murders is a much-kicked around project that’s actually kind of fun despite the critical mauling it got. Brian Henson has a cool attitude about his father’s legacy; he says it was very much Jim’s belief that the Muppet fans who were now adults would buy into an adult version of the puppet favourites. This script went through a number of rewrites and stars, and it shows, but the basic idea is amusing in a Roger Rabbit way; a world where depraved humans and puppets co-exist, and a Raymond Chandler-style whodunit that takes place there.  Melissa McCarthy seems to have engaged a personal screenwriter to allow her some of her trademark rants, and there’s good support from her Bridesmaids co-star Maya Rudolph. Bill Baretta has become a Muppet stalwart playing various well-loved characters in recent movies, and he does a nice job of making the cop-turned-detective Phil Phillips a happy centre for all the nonsense. It’s X-rated humour , supposedly adult but actually juvenile jokes all the way. The Happytime Murders doesn’t have the outrageous brio of Team America or Sausage Party, but it delivers a few precious laughs, and it’s only the most po-faced of virtue-signalers who won’t get some low-brow amusement out of the silliness.


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