Well heck, this isn’t exactly your ordinary puppet/human film and that’s okay with me. In theaters this Friday from director Brian Henson and STX Entertainment comes a story of a partnership to beat them all with “The Happytime Murders.”
Phil Philips (voiced by Bill Barretta) is a private detective who was once the first puppet to ever become a cop with the LAPD. After an incident that still haunts him, Phil is happy working for himself. Answering his calls is his very dependable and devoted secretary Bubbles (Maya Rudolph).
One day a very lushly stuffed red-head named Sandra (Dorien Davies) comes to Phil’s office and asks him to investigate who might be blackmailing her. Phil agrees and begins checking out a clue when he quickly becomes sidetracked when a group of puppets are cut down with fluff flying everywhere!
Arriving to investigate is Detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) and she is none to happy to see Phil. Edwards and Philips were once partners and because of her testimony he lost his badge. Exchanging unpleasantries, Lt. Banning (Leslie Baker) lets them both know they will be teaming up once again to solve the crime.
Phil drowns his grumpiness by visiting his brother Larry (Victor Yerrid) who found success on television in a show called “The Happytime Gang.” Lulled into changing himself a little to fit into society, Phil doesn’t know how lucky he is until Larry is attacked.
Now Edwards and Philips begin to see a pattern that the entire cast of “The Happytime Gang” are in danger. Included in that is Philips first love Jenny (Elizabeth Banks), a dancer who became the only human on his brother’s show.
Putting their differences aside, they work piecing together the clues one by one but always seem to be on step behind the person responsible for the puppet mayhem. When FBI Agent Campbell (Joel McHale) shows up, he tries to shut them down but these two cork screwy crime fighters aren’t about to let anything get in their way.
Where the clues lead them changes everything!
McCarthy as Detective Edwards gives her usual witty, snappy and very funny performance as a cop with a few secret problems. The adversarial relationship with Phil Philips wasn’t always the case and speaking of cases – they are going to have to put their animosity on hold to get the job done. McCarthy doesn’t mess a beat delivering her lines with the timing that makes me proud to be a smart ass.
Baretta voicing Phil Philips is very noir detective telling his story with a cigarette in one hand and a bag load of attitude in the other. There doesn’t seem to be anything this puppet can’t do, and I mean that in every sense and when my jaw isn’t hitting the floor I’m rolling in laughter. Bouncing off McCarthy, these two are perfect for one another.
Rudolph as Bubbles is devoted to her private detective boss and there isn’t anything she won’t do for him. When he is seen as a suspect, Bubbles makes darn sure that Edwards does what’s right to help make it all right. Rudolph is cutsie and also very noir with her pin curl hair and red nails.
Banks as Jenny is a burlesque dancer who seems happy when Philips walks through the door again. Remembering the moments they spent together, both puppet and long-legged human are clear that something is wrong. Banks gives a carrot dance performance that had the audience cracking up.
McHale as Agent Campbell is just a man who clearly isn’t playing with a full deck and power hungry at the same time. I love when McHale tries to get tough in these roles and keep a straight face doing it. Baker as Lt. Banning just wants the case solved and putting the ex-partners together is the way to do it.
Other cast include Julianne Buescher as Piddles, Drew Massey as Goofer, Ted Michaels as Ezra, Colleen Smith as Cara, Alice Dinnea as Sheila and Donna Kimball as Diane.
Look, “The Happytime Murders” is just a disturbingly hilarious film that pushes every button to get a reaction and they succeeded. The audience was cheering, laughing, grossed out, groaning, smacking their foreheads, clapping and just having a great time.
This isn’t a film that needs to be analyzed or scrutinized but instead just go and have fun. Yes the humor pushed the comedy bar up, down, sideways and slant ways like a Wonka-vater but who doesn’t love that? I wanted to take a dirty puppet film ride down the slippery slopes of good taste and right into a mud hole – and that’s exactly what happened.
“The Happytime Murders” is just a romp – it’s as simple as that – with touches of outrageousness and moments that can never be erased from your memory. The same could be said of many films but they didn’t make me laugh as much as this one does. Yep, I have a twisted sense of humor and am damn proud of it.
In the end – they are no sesame and all street!