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The Happytime Murders -- Melissa McCarthy in The Happytime Murders (2018). Courtesy of STX EntertainmentHopper Stone/Courtesy of STX Entertainment

  • The Happytime Murders
  • Directed by: Brian Henson
  • Written by: Todd Berger
  • Starring: Melissa McCarthy and the voice of Bill Barretta
  • Classification: 18A
  • 91 minutes


1.5 out of 4 stars

On this, the second-last weekend of the summer-movie season, when multiplexes are choked with the cinematic equivalent of driftwood, let’s pause and give thanks. God bless, for instance, the dazed studio executive who finally caught up with Peter Jackson’s deliriously vulgar 1989 Muppet-skewing comedy Meet the Feebles and declared, “Hey, let’s do exactly that ... but worse!” And praise be to the wise soul who decided that this facsimile should be grafted on top of a murder-mystery plot whose twists are as soft as the felt of its puppet cops, killers, strippers and junkies. And true appreciation must be paid to Melissa McCarthy, who does a so-very-loud version of her usual shtick – foul-mouthed wrecking-ball – to keep audiences awake when director Brian Henson (yes, son of Muppet creator Jim) resorts to having his puppets drop F-bombs instead of delivering actual jokes. But final thanks must go to the underpaid puppeteers who crouched, ducked and manoeuvred all over Happytime’s set, only for their physical labour to be used in service of a Sesame Street-meets-Bright mess. You really have to hand it to them.

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