What is happening in our world? Who is doing what? what is going on now? These are questions that will be answered. Enjoy.
The Happytime Murders Review – The Happytime Murders Is the Perfect Ending to an Awful Summer
Truly, this has been a cruel summer. Open racism, not-quite-reformed sex creeps doing standup for adoring crowds, Twitter meltdowns, horrific fashion—and that was just the President of the United States. Summer 2018 was a hot, humid dark night of the soul, and we were wide awake in track pants.
But as I limped across its finish line, it was the puppet semen that really got me contemplating my mortality.
This week, I sat in a nearly empty theater, watching The Happytime Murders. Just me and a group of dudes (a murder of bros?) who had rumbled into the theater on a cloud of body spray and parked themselves right in front of me. Oh great, I thought. I can have an existential crisis and try to guess which flavor of Axe I’m smelling. Two birds, one stone.
Really, anything to keep myself from focusing on this brutally unfunny puppet serial-killer comedy that combines elements of L.A. Confidential, Avenue Q, and giving up. The Happytime Murders is 90 grim minutes of puppets saying “fuck you” to people, people saying “fuck you” to puppets, and puppets getting murdered. It is both relentless and dull, simultaneously desperate and delighted with itself. It is exactly what we deserve, and it is awful.
And then a puppet ejaculates for about twenty minutes.
The Happytime Murders is 90 grim minutes of puppets saying “fuck you” to people, people saying “fuck you” to puppets, and puppets getting murdered. It is exactly what we deserve, and it is awful.
Our main character is Phil Phillips, who is not the Tiger Beat Dave Matthews who won American Idol a few years ago, but rather a private investigator. He is a puppet, in a world where puppets mix uneasily with humans. (Also, puppets can be humanoid, like Phil, but they can also be rabbits and crabs and goofballs, all of whom say “fuck you” a million times.) He’s in his office, talking to a femme fatale in the Sharon Stone Basic Instinct mold (will you see her puppet vagina in an interrogation scene? Fuck you, of course you will), and then they end up having loud puppet sex, and then Phil comes all over the place. On and on, all over the walls and desk and ceiling: an endless can of white silly string. It’s a bit like the vomit scene in Team America: World Police, if that movie had had no clear reason for existing. Second after endless second of screaming, aggressive puppet orgasm that I am watching on purpose, during the one life I will be granted on this Earth.
I am left with no choice but to go inward.
What am I doing with myself, I ask in this dreadful moment, as the bros in front of me laugh performatively and coat my sinus cavity with a brand of Axe I have decided is called Midnight Thunderclap. I am a middle-aged man, the world is burning down, and this is how I’m spending my time? Watching things I know I will hate, so that I can make fun of them? I will be old in 45 minutes, I’ll be dead after that, and I’ll stay that way forever. Can I afford to do this anymore?
Could anything be better suited to the Summer of 2018 than a film in which Muppet-adjacent felt creatures—the movie is co-produced by Henson Alternative, a production company that goes by the name HA!, which is a noise they will not coax out of you—reduce 85 percent of my cherished memories of The Muppet Movie to infinity dust? How many years have I aged since the kerfuffle about Roseanne Barr’s tweets, which somehow also happened this summer? Does Ariana Grande really have a song on Sweetener where the chorus is just “I’m so successful?” Are they seriously bringing Temptation Island back? Is dressing like the human manifestation of bath salts a bold fashion move, or has everyone just given up, because they’re so, so tired?
What is the deal with this movie anyway, I ask myself as a blue puppet man continues to blow his load and Joel McHale shows up for some reason. Is it a heavy-handed parable about racism, set as it is in a world where puppets are an aggrieved minority? If so, why are the stand-ins for non-white people so uniformly awful that we’re supposed to laugh and cheer when they die gruesomely? What’s the point of pointing out that Melissa McCarthy’s character has a puppet liver if all it’s going to do is explain how she can snort puppet drugs—which I think are made of puppet rabbit piss, but it’s possible I fully left my body during this movie and am just imagining terrible things—without dying? Why aren’t we as a society doing better by Maya Rudolph? And how is this puppet still busting?
And while I’m asking the unanswerable: Who is The Happytime Murders for? Who is both young enough to want to hear puppets curse, and old enough to get into an R-rated movie? Who is the person who wants to see this many liters of puppet jizz, yet has not heard of the internet?
When I meet St. Peter at the gates of Heaven, as a lifetime half-listening to priests and nuns has taught me I will, will I be able to defend spending 90 minutes of my one precious life this way? Don’t I deserve better? Don’t we all deserve better entertainment, better fashion, a better government? Is it too late to pull ourselves out of this tailspin?
Whatever. I am an American at a particularly ghastly time in history, and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks at God Bless the Broken Road. Fuck you.