Dec 092018

The Happytime Murders, while not entirely funny with the puppet gimmick growing old, was a tolerable enough film especially one starring Melissa McCarthy; it’s probably worth a rental for fans of McCarthy and/or seeing violent/crude puppets.



The Happytime Murders

Genre(s): Comedy, Crime
Universal | R – 92 min. – $34.98 | December 4, 2018

Date Published: 12/09/2018 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Brian Henson
Writer(s): Todd Berger & Dee Austin Robertson (story), Todd Berger (screenplay)
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Leslie David Baker, Bill Barretta (voice), Dorien Davies (voice)
Features: Commentary, Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Line-O-Rama, Trailers
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 35.4 GB
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C (untested)

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 2.5/5

Plot Synopsis: Detective-turned-private investigator Phil Philips (voiced by BILL BARRETTA) is a down-on-his-luck puppet who used to work for the LAPD. When two puppets from an old TV show wind up dead, Phil suspects something is afoot and is reunited with Connie Edwards (MELISSA MCCARTHY), his former human partner, the bickering duo soon find themselves in a race against time to protect other former cast members before the killer strikes again.

Review: Probably have mentioned this before in prior reviews, but I’m not a big fan of Melissa McCarthy, mostly due to she continues to do to the same shtick time and again where those characters have been far more obnoxious rather than funny. Well, I’m here to say… she wasn’t all that bad in The Happytime Murders. Unfortunately the material didn’t help her out and instead we have a gimmick that kind of grows old, this probably would’ve worked better as a short film than feature length.

Going in, I wasn’t looking forward to watching The Happytime Murders, not only because Melissa McCarthy was the star but it honestly didn’t look all that appealing, and kind of reminded me in some ways to another adult-centric comedy, Sausage Party. That being said… it was actually okay; neither bad nor good this was a middle-of-the-road film. As I mentioned before, the idea of a world where puppets are real and co-exist with humans is interesting, but that concept did become old not to mention humor-wise, I really didn’t laugh a whole lot, only a couple chuckles when dogs attack one of the puppets. Otherwise, even the normally funny Joel McHale appearing as a tenacious but inept FBI agent couldn’t help.

The movie was directed by Brian Henson, son of the legendary Jim Henson, the man behind the puppets for The Muppets and Sesame Street, so it would seem his son would be the one to take the childhood icons and give them an R-rating with plenty of swearing, violence and sexual content never seen before. Sadly it wasn’t all that humorous. On the positive side, the plot did at least capture my attention enough, sure not as complicated as something like Chinatown but has the wonderful tropes of film noir, including the mysterious woman… err… puppet showing up in the private eye’s office, and you know she’s not merely a client in trouble. That aspect was pretty fum. Even a sex scene, which I didn’t really laugh at, was somewhat amusing that’s not something you see… ever. Pretty outrageous.

Also impressive was some of the visual effects and puppetry work, the filmmakers did a commendable job brining these puppets to life and in many scenes, with the use of effects, giving them full bodies and having them walk around. That was notable and honestly creepy.

In the end, The Happytime Murders is a miraculous movie that someone over at Universal actually greenlit. That in of itself is amazing. But the movie itself probably would’ve worked better as a short film or skit but at the very least Melissa McCarthy was tolerable though she didn’t get a whole lot to work with, which is partially her own fault given she and her husband/collaborator, Ben Falcone, were producers.

As a side, not that it’s big deal, but sans end credits, the movie is only 77-minutes long…



This release comes with a title-embossed slip cover and inside a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Audio Commentary – Director Brian Henson and Voice Actor Bill Barretta. The pair seem to have a good time recording the track which makes for an enjoyable listen as they also give information on the production.

Deleted Scenes (14:24) – There are six scenes that didn’t make the cut and probably not hard to see why, also helped keep the pacing going. A few shots were shown as flashbacks.

Gag Reel (2:47) is filled with plenty of line flubs.

Line-O-Rama (2:35) is a staple for these kind of movies where comedic actors are allows to go off through various lines.

Virtual Environments (2:15) looks at the effects work on the film and how some shots were accomplished.

Avatar Demo (2:45) looks at the combination of avatars (i.e. motion capture) combined with puppets.

VFX Breakdown (4:08) is a featurette the effects of the project with more comparison and composite shots.

Last we got two Theatrical Trailers.


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Universal releases The Happytime Murders onto Blu-ray where it is presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Given this is a goofy comedy, you would expect this to be bright and cheerful and when you add puppets to the mix, there is some vibrancy to the colors. Detail also was quite good with nice sharpness throughout, such being able to see the felt material on the puppets, the reds in the Sandra character especially stands out.

AUDIO – 4.25/5

The movie comes with a strong DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track which isn’t especially rich or anything but certainly more than satisfactory providing good dialogue levels via the center channel and solid audio coming through the front and rear speakers, showcasing good ambient noises along with the soundtrack/score.


OVERALL – 3.0/5

Overall, The Happytime Murders, while not entirely funny with the puppet gimmick growing old, was a tolerable enough film especially one starring Melissa McCarthy; it’s probably worth a rental for fans of McCarthy and/or seeing violent/crude puppets. The Blu-ray release offers up good video/audio transfers and some so-so bonus material.




Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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