In Review: The Happytime Murders

Released earlier in the week on Amazon and other streaming services. The Happytime Murders gives us a version of Los Angeles where puppets and humans co-exist

Synopsis: When the puppet cast of a ’90s children’s TV show begins to get murdered one by one, a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet takes on the case.

Review: Released earlier in the week on Amazon and other streaming services. The Happytime Murders gives us a version of Los Angeles where puppets and humans co-exist, but somewhat uneasily.

I chose to rent this film out of curiosity due to puppets co-existing with human beings but done with a more adult approach than The Muppets seemed like a fun concept.

The Story

When the former puppet cast members of The Happytime Gang a 90s kids TV show start getting murdered. Detective Phil Philips, a Puppet,  is brought in to consult on the murder with his former partner Detective Connie Edwards.

Phil Philips who was the first Puppet to ever make detective on the LA police force retired his badge when it was implied that he’d never shoot other puppets if under pressure to do so.

What follows is an investigation, which sees Phil unwittingly being found at the scene when the murders are going down, which implicates him as the FBI’s number one suspect. This forces Phil to put his trust in his human partner from the bad old days on the force.

The Acting

The acting throughout this film is pretty damn good given the fact that the humor is kind of one note and kind of at the gross end of the spectrum. Melissa McCarthy who I’m not particularly a fan of does well to maintain a straight face throughout and Ryan Tran does a good job of voicing Private Eye Phil.


Sadly this film turns into a huge wasted opportunity favoring a lot of cheap and crude gags over making us care for any of the characters.

The actors do a solid job in their roles, but the writing is so bad that you find yourself actually being able to predict what is going to happen next. For example, the scene where Phil visits his Ex Girlfriend only to see her get into her car and go boom was particularly telegraphed.

Sadly many of the jokes in this film had already been done and were much funnier and relevant in ‘Team America’, which was entirely puppets.

I’m glad I waited for this as opposed to going to see it at the cinema. Had I wound up paying cinema prices for this movie I’d have been massively disappointed.

From now on. I’m sticking to ‘The Muppets’.  I’d advise people to do the same.

The Happytime Murders
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Puppeteering
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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