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There was a time when Brian Henson, son of legendary Muppet creator Jim, was fully entrenched in the family business. But, after The Muppets became the property of various rights holders, Disney being the latest and current, Brian continued to work with puppets — just in more extreme ways. The most extreme example is about to unfold though, as his long awaited film The Happytime Murders just dropped its first red-band, which you can watch below. Prepare for puppets gone wild.
In The Happytime Murders, a spate of suspicious killings have been taking place, all involving the puppet cast of a beloved 80’s kids show. It’s up to disgraced former cop, turned puppet private eye, Phil Phillips, and a human detective played by Melissa McCarthy, to crack the case. To do so, they’ll descend into a world of puppet drugs, puppet sex, and puppet swearing — all for you to see on the big screen. And if this trailer is anything to go by, it’s going to be so damned hysterical.
This trailer was released into limited showings of Deadpool 2 last night, and being present at one of those lucky screenings, I can tell you the audience ate this up. Seeing the extreme behavior of this alternative breed of puppets can be quite a shock when you’re seeing it for the first time, or the first time in a long while. It’s amazing to think that this film was at one point going to have a PG-13 rating,with both Cameron Diaz and Katherine Heigl being considered to star at various points! However, those in the know would see this as a natural extension of Brian Henson’s Henson Alternative brand, which has mostly trafficked in uncensored puppetry through the touring improve show known as Puppet Up! Now, familiars and newbies can rejoice in Henson’s madness, as The Happytime Murders embodies that very spirit of comedy.
What’s even better about The Happytime Murders is the fact that the human cast is as impressive as their puppet counterparts. Joel McHale looks like he’s having a hell of a fun time playing a hard nosed FBI agent that’s looking to bust the balls of both puppet Phil and Melissa McCarthy’s Detective Connie Edwards. Throw in Elizabeth Banks as a stripper / Phil’s ex-girlfriend and Maya Rudolph as Phil’s assistant, and you’ve got an even more impressive body of co-stars.
The best part about this trailer though is seeing Melissa McCarthy doing what she does best when it comes to comedy. After seeingLife of the Party, some may have been disappointed with the film’s abuse of her talents. That isn’t the case in The Happytime Murders, as Connie is a role that gives McCarthy a lot of room to work her comedic and authoritative muscles. She looks absolutely bad assed in this trailer, and it looks like it’s prime Melissa McCarthy gold on display here.
It’s early days for The Happytime Murders, but judging on the reaction to this trailer in the theater last night, I’d say August has a sleeper hit on its hands. The unique brand of hard R comedy and the novelty of it being presented with puppets has this film on my must see list for this year, and I have a feeling a lot of people who saw this first look last night might be thinking the same thing.
We’ll have to wait until The Happytime Murders opens its case files on August 17th, 2018 to see; but in the meantime, if you’re looking for more fun and games in theaters throughout the year, feel free to look through our 2018 release schedule. We can’t promise more puppets, but there’s bound to be something there to pass the time.