I wasn’t sure upon entering the theater quite what I was getting in to, but within five minutes of the movie starting I knew this wasn’t the film for me. The likes of the Muppets and Fraggle Rock played a huge role in my childhood and I adored every second of them. Although a matter of debate at the moment, puppets have been geared more towards an adult audience since the 70’s, although never to the extent of Happy Time Murders so that is not where my issue stems from. My number one issue with the film was it’s clumsy treatment, or just outright lack of sensitivity, of ‘otherness’.
The core of Happy Time Murders is that puppets are treated as second hand citizens. As lesser creatures than the likes of people. Following tropes of Jim Crow era discrimination, it just felt unnecessary to me. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting some cerebral discussion about race and class from a puppet movie with Melissa McCarthy, I just didn’t think the inclusion of this element added any substance whatsoever.
If copious amounts of puppet sex float your boat, then this is definitely the movie for you. However, for those of us that aren’t so keen on some felt action it was just kind of gross to be honest. The whole movie was like the last 10 minutes of Sausage Party (if you don’t know what that means, consider yourself one of the lucky ones). I have no issues with sexual based humor, I just don’t necessarily want to see it coming from a puppet.
Happy Time Murders was short, predictable and for the most part, extra in every way imaginable. I’m convinced this movie was written by and for middle school boys and there really isn’t anything that will change my mind about it. So essentially this movie is exactly what you would expect it to be. Nothing more, nothing less.