Why Did the R-Rated Muppets movie flop?

Elliot Tritto

Contributing Writer


When STX studios announced the film “Happy Time Murders,” this brought to my attention something that can be different, refreshing and original. Perhaps an R-rated Muppets movie? Well, who doesn’t love Sesame Street and the Muppets with their charming, unforgettable characters like Elmo, Kermit and Cookie Monster teaching valuable life lessons, with enjoyable, light humor.

Could Happy Time Murders be capable of having that same effect as the Muppets have? Could this be the movie that gets Hollywood back into the main spotlight and maybe inspire new ideas?

Absolutely not.

Happy Time Murders tries too hard to become something it’s not. Instead of it being a raunchy, witty and clever action movie, it results to manifest itself as a gratuitous, tasteless and lackluster film.

Our story takes place in a reality where humans and puppets coincide and puppets are treated as second class citizens due to their appearance.

Our protagonist, an alcoholic and hapless puppet/private investigator, Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta), investigates a case of murders that tie into a classic show, the “Happy Time Gang.”

Alongside him is his former human partner, Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) to which both vile each other.

This untrodden yet atrocious creation was directed by Brian Henson, (son of the creator of the Muppets, Jim Henson). To sum this movie up, it’s a disgusting hybrid of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Netflix’s Bright.

An obvious conclusion I found in this movie are there are more negative aspects than there are positive. Nevertheless, let’s start on a positive note.

The subtle details and its attempt of having the audience become immersed in this society of puppets and humans coexisting is fun. By using drugs and alcohol with the puppets is simple yet funny. Puppets snorting up pure cane sugar with a twizzler and getting burnt on maple syrup subsists as refreshing and effective.

Not to mention, the comparison of puppets not getting the same equality as humans, which coincide how today’s political climate can stand with immigration and minorities. Oh, and if you do see it, a cool twist does occur at the end.

Onwards, to the negativity. An immense amount of problems breathe life into this movie. Although, I’ll give you the SparkNotes version since I’m sure you want to see this movie immediately after my review.

The writing isn’t something new or engaging nor is the character development. The entire movie exists as if everything you loved about the Muppets for its charm and family friendly content, it’s stripped to just gratuitous sex and murder.

As long as we are talking about sex in the film, sex and puppets should never be in the same sentence. The fact that the film features a puppet pornography store, that films puppet porn, and a scene of two puppets having a beast with two backs moments, exists as something very appalling.

The product of this movie felt much made just on a dare. There’s no clear reason as to why this movie needed to be made. No purpose or subject matter that makes anyone think. It’s just hey, let’s make an R-rated Muppets movie.

On a final note, if I were a screenwriter on this movie, I would’ve wanted to at least change a lot of things. Not only the story but a message. More people would’ve enjoyed this movie if it made an effective statement by not mistreating puppets, saying stereotypes should never be in consideration.

Anyway, the verdict. Happy Time Murders 3/10.


photo info: Melissa McCarthy stars aongside puppets in the new movie Happy TIme Murders. Photo courtesy: Gizmodo

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