THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (15)
D: Brian Henson
STX/Black Bear/Henson Alternative/Huayi Brothers (Brian Henson, Jeff Hayes, Jason Lust, Ben Falcone & Melissa McCarthy)
W: Todd Berger & Dee Austin Robertson
DP: Mitchell Amundsen
Ed: Brian Scott Olds
Mus: Christopher Lennertz
Bill Barretta (voice of Phil Philips), Melissa McCarthy (Connie Edwards), Maya Rudolph (Bubbles), Joel McHale (Agent Campbell), Elizabeth Banks (Jenny), Dorien Davies (voice of Sandra White)
If you're the sort of person who finds the idea of watching Kermit The Frog getting wanked off by Miss Piggy hilarious, then you'll probably enjoy The Happytime Murders. If however, you go into this film expecting L.A. Confidential with a Who Framed Roger Rabbit twist, then you're certain to be disappointed.
Set in a Los Angeles where sentient puppets and human beings co-exist, puppet P.I. Phil Philips takes on a blackmailing case from a femme fatale, a case which has links with a string of murders targeting the cast of The Happytime Gang, a successful television show in the vein of Sesame Street.
This film had the potential of having allegorical parallels with racism, or merely being a Sam Spade-esque detective mystery with puppets, but instead it goes for the low-hanging fruit of vulgar humour at every opportunity, with puerile sex joke after puerile sex joke ejaculating over the screen like a constant stream of silly string (this actually happens).
There's a reference to Basic Instinct which does raise a smile, and the puppet work is quite well executed, despite the puppets being incredibly ugly.
Peter Jackson did this before, in Meet The Feebles, and the detective angle had already been covered with The Great Muppet Caper. This could have been a hugely entertaining subverted version of a medium which is usually for kids, but it's nothing but a tawdry mess.
A razzie for Fozzie wouldn't be a huge surprise.