Arts and Entertainment Editor
For those of us, like myself, who grew up watching their parents’ childhood Muppets movies, “The Happytime Murders” offers a more adult take on everyone’s favorite puppets.
With a brilliant cast full of big names in comedy from Melissa McCarthy to Elizabeth Banks to Maya Rudolph, the movie does not go light on laughs or crass humor, making it almost impossible to watch without cracking a grin a time or two.
While it won’t be winning any awards anytime soon due to its lack of critical support, I thought “The Happytime Murders” was a good opportunity for Brian Henson — the son of the late Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets — to get his name out as a director and continue his father’s legacy.
With that being said, I am not sure this film is exactly what Jim had in mind when he started his series of Muppet films and television shows all those years ago.
The film is not for the faint-hearted: not only does it push the humor above and beyond into new levels of crass, offensive jokes, it also takes the action and gore to whole new places — although it’s hard to see it as gory due to the characters’ lack of human anatomy.
I definitely think the use of Muppet characters who couldn’t be seen as human by any standard by the Motion Pictures Association of America allowed the film to push the boundaries as far as it did, landing an R rating on a movie that definitely would have been NC-17 or worse had the action centered on real human people.
I went to see the film on $2 movie night with two friends, and we all laughed our socks off almost the whole time (which might say a lot more than it should about my sense of humor). Growing up with the warm, loving, G-rated Muppets, it was fun to watch them grow and evolve to suit the adult audience who would now be watching them.
As much as I hate it, the Muppets don’t seem to be as popular with kids these days as they used to. I definitely think it was smart on Brian Henson’s part to realize that the film would draw in a much bigger audience if it catered to a more adult crowd — creating a film for the same people who would have been watching his father’s work when they were still kids at home, except with the knowledge that these kids are all grown up.
In the end, if you have any memories of the Muppets from childhood and want to see them in a more evolved, grown-up state, or if you just have a really silly sense of humor reminiscent of a 12-year-old boy’s, then “The Happytime Murders” is a must see.
But be warned — these aren’t your momma’s Muppets.