There’s a murder that has gone down in Los Angeles and there’s only one cop and puppet partnership that can solve it.
That’s the premise of director Brian Henson’s new feature, The Happytime Murders, starring Melissa McCarthy. And judging from the first red band trailer for the raunchy comedy these puppets have assimilated into all walks of Los Angeles life.
Henson has been trying to get this film off the ground for a decade, ever since the Henson Company purchased the Black List script back in 2008. Initially Katherine Heigel was attached to the star in 2012, but by 2016 she had dropped out and Jamie Foxx had taken her place. But it was a year ago when Melissa McCarthy came on board that the film finally got the traction to get in front of cameras. Original drafts of the film were written by Todd Berger and Dee Robertson with RED and Meg screenwriters Erich & Jon Hoeber doing additional work. McCarthy also reportedly did a polish before shooting began.
To be sure, we have seen a more adult or darker version of puppet and human interaction before and this particularly echoes the “Smile Time” episode of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer spinoff Angel. But this seems to take some of that noir and veer a little bit towards territory staked out by Peter Jackson’s all-puppet film Meet The Feebles. But can the film succeed on more than just the comic shock value of puppets doing things we would never see on a children’s show? We’ll find out when The Happytime Murders hits theaters on August 17.