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The Happytime Murders (2018)

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When the puppet cast of a '90s children's TV show begin to get murdered one by one, a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet takes on the case.

Director:

Brian Henson

Writers:

Todd Berger (screenplay by), Todd Berger (story by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Melissa McCarthy ... Detective Connie Edwards
Elizabeth Banks ... Jenny
Maya Rudolph ... Bubbles
Leslie David Baker ... Lt. Banning
Joel McHale ... Agent Campbell
Cynthy Wu ... Brittenie Marlowe
Michael McDonald ... Ronovan Scargle
Mitch Silpa ... Tommy
Hemky Madera ... Tito
Benjamin Cole Royer Benjamin Cole Royer ... Rick
Brekkan Spens ... Dick
Ryan Tran ... Phil
Fortune Feimster ... Robin (as Emily Fortune Feimster)
Brian Palermo ... Paramedic (as Brian Joseph Palermo)
John Damon Jones John Damon Jones ... Police Station Guard
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Storyline

A murder mystery set in a world where humans and puppets co-exist, but puppets are viewed as second-class citizens. When the puppet cast of an '90s children's TV show begins to get murdered one by one, a former cop, who has since become a private eye, takes on the case. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sex. Murder. Puppets. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong crude and sexual content and language throughout, and some drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Facebook | Instagram | See more »

Country:

USA | China

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 August 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Happytime Murders See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,532,425, 26 August 2018, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$20,706,452, 27 September 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Puppets featured in That Puppet Game Show (2013) play characters and extras in the movie. Eddie Watts is a waiter in the restaurant Phil and Larry Shenanigans are talking in, on the wall photo and in the background. Clyde Stravinsky as the crab in the garbage can at the beach. Jake Hamilton-Jones as the little girl's father who Phil accidentally shoots. Dr. Strabismus as the doctor at the puppet clinic who refuses to operate on Connie. One of the singing Hot Dogs appears during the end credits. See more »

Goofs

The Silly String shot on the door of Phil's office changes positions throughout the scene. See more »

Quotes

Phil Philips: If shit gets crazy I'm gonna go crazy as shit.
See more »

Connections

Spoofs Basic Instinct (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Never Gonna Give You Up
Written by Mike Stock (as Michael Stock), Matt Aitken (as Matthew Aitken), and Pete Waterman (as Peter Waterman)
Performed by Rick Astley
Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited & RCA Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Comedy is the real victim here.
26 August 2018 | by dejected_jediSee all my reviews

For years moviegoers have had to deal with what I call the "preview problem,", a term I just pulled out of my nether regions. The preview problem is easy to explain: the folks that make movie previews have one job and one job only, and that is to sell the film they are advertising. The trouble begins with the fact that they have gotten very good at this. It doesn't matter the quality or type of film or even if you end up liking it or not. These guys could not care less about audiences' opinions if they came in a book labeled "The Picture Book of Colonoscopies." As soon as those butts are comfortably ensconced in theater seats their job is done. And they will go to some pretty far lengths in order get that essential opening weekend box office moolah: From showing scenes that are not actually in the finished film to giving a completely wrong expectation of the movie in question.

And so, with come to The Happytimes Murders, a film that overpromises and disappoints worst than a teenage boy on prom night. On its face, the premise presented on the trailer is almost genius in its simplicity. What if we had a Muppets movie for adults? The analogy is not entirely glib being the movie was directed by the revered Jim Henson's own son, Brian, making his feature-length debut. By all expectations this should have been if not a hilarious sleeper hit, then at the very least, a little funny.

It is not.

What went wrong? It's not the fact the writers throw every tired old detective movie cliché at the screen in an attempt to remake "The Maltese Falcon" with puppets and foul language. And it is also not the issue that, as shown in the trailer, puppets simulating sex is NOT inherently funny. Team America proved that premise could be hilarious that 14 years ago. No, the trouble is that the writers et al. forgot that what makes Muppets, cartoons and marionettes interesting in the first place is that they live by their own set of rules. Consider the classic "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" Cartoons living in a human world but following cartoon rules. Putting puppets in a human world, obeying human rules misses the point of puppets completely and makes for a film that annoys rather than entertain. If anything, this just proves that you can't just throw a bunch of curse words and sex jokes and expect a hit.

But even all that could be forgiven if the film didn't commit the worst sin of all and that is misusing a particular stellar cast of comedians. Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Elizabeth Banks and Michael McDonald have maybe 3 minutes of funny screen time between them. And while ostensibly the film is about a murder mystery, not making Melissa McCarthy funny is the real crime here.


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