30th Aug2018

‘The Happytime Murders’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph, Leslie David Baker, Joel McHale, Cynthy Wu, Michael McDonald, Mitch Silpa, Hemky Madera, Benjamin Cole Royer, Brekkan Spens, Ryan Tran | Written by Todd Berger | Directed by Brian Henson


The Happytime Murders will undoubtedly be at the bottom of every worst film list of 2018 and with a high pedigree of potential flowing through its wings and significant names attached to the project, both behind and in front of the camera, it comes as quite the disaster. Trailers looked ludicrously dull and unpragmatic, leading to mixed responses, to say the least, that featured little to no positive response. The film itself, the final product, a production of almost a year is undoubtedly, unequivocally, a total complete disaster. Not in the sense of filmmaking merits, but contextually within plot and definition.

To sell yourself as a comedy, it needs to be funny and full of humour. Brian Henson’s film is at loss with no humour in sight. To its credit, it does actively attempt moments within the genre, yet each attempt is so incredibly vague and sour, the attempts are quite frankly tragic. The comedy here is incredibly low-brow. It isn’t willing to let its audience work anything out itself, regarding the plot, comedy timing and jokes. The former is maze best not entering, as clearly the filmmakers didn’t survive their venture trying to make it out alive through this dire mess, although it’s clear nobody is necessarily going into this as pinnacle storytelling at its finest, nobody would contest that.

However, it’s borderline torturous to sit through, to watch and then have a character merely seconds later, reiterate and explain said events through dialogue, presumably to reinforce the plot on the odd chance the two audience members sitting in a lonely auditorium manage to wake up from their boredom-induced coma, which brings me to comedic timing and jokes. They’re abhorrent. It should be left at that, yet it’s unbelievable the sheer amount of pauses the film entails to allow jokes to breathe, which in itself is hilarious because of every joke bombing on arrival with zero response from an audience. Therefore the end result has severe moments of clear and antagonising pauses throughout the said film that ultimately feel ever so arbitrary and absurd.

McCarthy is on a really dangerous path of creating a multitude of lacklustre and box office drabs as her filmography fills itself with problematic and tiresome films one after the other. The issue comes from a lack of acting diversity in a career that quite clearly, and unfortunately is stagnating. One can only hope that an injection of diversified content comes her way, concerning dramatic roles in order to showcase her skills in range, which she of-course undoubtedly has, especially more so as of late with the release of The Happytime Murders and The Life of the Party, doing little to nothing of anything for anyone. The real tragedy of this debacle and major aspect both films have in common is the pure, terrific and wonderful Maya Rudolph is miserably wasted and tragically so.

There are one or two aspects that are remotely acceptable or redeeming. It doesn’t shy away whatsoever from its adult orientated content, a decision it wholeheartedly throws everything against the wall at, hoping something sticks. To be one of only a few films that surround such a strange and outlandish production, it is only fair to highlight such an achievement. The puppeteering and animatronics are also spectacular and a major achievement considering, although the length of such does only go so far.

The Happytime Murders is in UK cinemas now.

One Response to “‘The Happytime Murders’ Review”

  • Nathan Favel

    I went into this movie expecting to hate it, but I loved it instead. They did market it wrong, though. This should of been presented as Lethal Weapon with puppets, rather than a raunchy comedy. The plot was predictable, but it worked just fine. I got a real kick out of this and enjoyed the low-brow humor. I also didn’t have a problem with the timing or placement of the jokes either. I laughed hard and often like a dumb idiot and didn’t mind one bit. Gosford Park is a lot more fun to watch when you can follow it with Blazing Saddles, if that analogy makes sense. Hell, I just watched Pret a Porter a couple of hours ago and enjoyed that, so I’m a solid example of people being able to go from one extreme to the other with their sense of humor. I write really weird wrestling reviews, so maybe I’m an exception to the rule on what people will find funny. The title made the picture sound like a slasher movie. I would have gone with some-thing like Hard Lead or Bad Cops, as long as it sounded like a good title but actually wasn’t. Any-way, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 4.