“We’re the only two people in the world who can save Phil,” says Bubbles (Maya Rudolph), “and I can’t do it alone – I’m wearing heels.” She’s talking to Los Angeles Police Department detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy), about Phil Phillips (Bill Berratta), down-on-his-luck private investigator. Police suspect him of serial homicides. Bubbles is his loyal secretary; Connie was his partner on the LAPD until he was fired. And – this is the movie’s gimmick – Phil is a puppet with legs, not a human like Bubbles and Connie. That’s the setup for “The Happytime Murders,” the worst movie of the summer.
Who is murdering cast members of “The Happytime Gang,” hit TV puppet show, now being sold for syndication? What does sex-pot femme fatale puppet Sandra White (Dorien Davies) know but is not telling? Will you be entertained by “The Happytime Murders”? If non-stop f-bombs, from both human and puppet characters, is your idea of a good time, enjoy. It’s not mine.
Melissa McCarthy heads the human cast as LAPD detective Connie Edwards. She’s a tough cop who finds herself working again with her former police partner, puppet Phil Phillips, voiced by Bill Berratta. He’s become a hard-boiled PI, investigating a case thrown his way by over-the-top puppet floozy, Sandra White, voiced by Dorien Davies. “I’m gonna pee on you like I’m a hydrant,” she says. “You like that?” Maya Rudolph, Leslie David Baker and Joel McHale are secretary Bubbles, LAPD Lieutenant Banning and FBI agent Campbell. Elizabeth Banks is Phil’s human girlfriend, Jenny.
Puppet characters are voiced by Pamela Mitchell (Topaz), Colleen Smith (Cara), Mitch Silpa (Tommy), Allison Bills (Carol), Brekkan Spens (Dick), and Drew Massey (Goofer-Vinny).
“The Happytime Murders” is an R-rated, boring adult flick. Its only purpose, says Slant Magazine critic Derek Smith, is to shock. And director Brian Henson — son of Muppet creator Jim Henson — shocks over and over with just one joke: human characters (McCarthy’s Connie Edwards, for one) and Muppet-like puppets (Phil Phillips, et al) smoke, have sex and drop f-bombs non-stop. At the Regal, where I saw “THTM,” no one in the small crowd laughed. If, like me, you remember Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Scooter and The Great Gonzo, you probably won’t be amused either.
Rated R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content, language throughout, smoking and drug usage, “The Happytime Murders” runs just 91 minutes. Trust me, it will seem longer. Not for the kids.
Is high on my list
Of tedious flicks
I wish I had missed.