The Happytime Murders combines puppets, Noir, and boorish humor like a wishful experiment. If only the vulgarity were left off. Directed by Brian Henson, the story happens in an unpleasant world where living puppets face prejudice from humans. Following a multiple murder inside an L.A. porn shop, a cop is paired with a worn weary private detective to investigate. One of the victims turns out to be a former cast member from a popular 1990’s sitcom, which sparks clues to the suspects behind the incident.
The private eye puppet (named Phil done by Bill Barretta) is well-made in conveying its cynical tough guy aura. He’s also got his own office with a secretary named Bubbles(voiced by Maya Rudolph). Phil is partnered with Melissa McCarthy( named Connie) who is a good actress even around puppets. She and her rough charm is the best reason for this movie. The screenplay provides both Phil and Connie with emotional baggage, the former with guilt about a tragic accident and the latter with bitterness about it. But what stands out is the amount of profanity, violence, drugs, and sex that are done by the supporting character puppets. They include criminals, a seductive dame, and rabid dogs. And finally the endless dirty mouthed language. Its humor is bound to shock rather than attempt at wit. The screen yells “watch how vulgar I am!” and the interesting story begins to collapse under its decadent comedy.