Sun | Dec 16, 2018

'Happytime' a sad day for film-making

Published:Monday | September 3, 2018 | 12:00 AMDamian Levy/ Gleaner Writer
The bickering duo of Academy Award nominee Melissa McCarthy (left) and Detective Phil Philips in 'The Happytime Murders'.

It was like any other Wednesday night. I walked into a mostly empty cinema and found my seat in the centre of the room. I was there to do a job.

I wouldn't be there otherwise. Still something told me not to be so cynical. Maybe it wouldn't be as bad as people said. After all, how could a movie with puppets be that bad? Even if it were, the film was only an hour and a half, so at least I'd be home before too late.

Thing is, my instincts are hardly ever wrong about a movie. They usually prepare me for when a movie is a really bad one. This time? Nothing could've prepared me for this.

The Happytime Murders is a film noir detective parody that takes something meant for kids and presents it for a much more mature audience. In the '80s, it was Who Framed Roger Rabbit. While that film is a classic, The Happytime Murders is an anti-classic, a film that won't stand the test of time, except to be remembered as one of the very worst the decade had to offer.

The Happytime Murders has as much story as a Saturday Night Live sketch - one that should've ended 30 seconds after it started. It follows ex-cop-turned-private detective, puppet Phil Phillips, whose most recent small-time case thrusts him back into police work. He's forced to work with his old partner, played by human Melissa McCarthy, as they track down a serial killer with a fluffy type of victim. Puppets.

The movie is more interested in its own premise than it is with creating something with it. The world of The Happytime Murders is so unbelievably boring. It has maybe 10 actual jokes that it repeats ad nauseum. It plays like a group of preteens laughing at each other, saying the same curse words repeatedly, just because they're dirty. It's trying so hard to have an edge, it forgot to have a sense of humour.

Nothing could inspire me to recommend this film to anyone. Its existence only serves as a reminder that a film needs more than an idea to make it work. Execution is everything, and The Happytime Murders only makes you wish you could be executed. Then again, the guest two rows behind me was laughing like crazy. So what do I know?

Rating: Read A Book