Tag: Bill Barretta

The Happytime Murders

Muppets. Saying. Fuck.

That could have been the original pitch for this movie. Or maybe just Muppets dying and being killed. Or Muppets smoking. Basically, Muppets being adults and corrupt and crime.

Incorporating Muppets into the real world with real humans has not been an issue. Hell, that is how the show has always worked and movies. It is fine, people accept it, all good.

But with this movie, The Happytime Murders, they want to put Muppets in new situations! More action, violence, and whatever it takes to get an R rating so little Johnny doesn’t accidentally have his childhood ruined, or something. This is probably Deadpool‘s fault. Superheroes got to be edgy, so now Muppets get to be edgy.

Edgy Muppets doesn’t have to be a bad thing. They just have to be smart about it.

This picture is a metaphor for Joel McHale’s new show going up in smoke. But also literally.

Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta) is not your normal private eye. You see, he is a Muppet. Or a puppet officially, I don’t care about the nomenclature. He certainly does not have bones in his body (unless you count the human hand…). He used to be a cop. He was the first ever puppet cop, but for whatever reason, he was kicked off the force and there is some bad blood between the two sides. And Phil doesn’t even have blood.

During an investigation of a ransom, Phil finds himself at the scene of a murder, where one of the victims is from the first ever TV show starring mainly puppets! Phil is worried about this killing, as it seems like a hit job. Phil’s brother was on the show, so he doesn’t want his brother to get offed as well from some unknown assailant.

But yet, more cast members start dying. And the clues aren’t leading closer to a suspect. Can Phil solve the murder mystery? Or will his stuffing just get all over the place by the end?

Also starring Kevin Clash, Dorien Davies, Drew Massey, Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale, Maya Rudolph, and Leslie David Baker.

I am sorry I am showing something so graphic in a review.

Going into this movie, I expected that they would do some gross stuff with Muppets, but overall, it would try to be your normal, run of the mill, buddy cop crime comedy entity. Boy was I wrong. This movie wanted to do “gross” stuff with puppets, and that is it. It is almost entirely void of humor in this regard. The first 2-3 times having a Muppet swear or do something adult like can constitute an original joke. But then to just repeat that same punch line 100 times and call it a film is not what anyone would define as a good time.

In fact, we only get really one sex Muppet joke. Their version of adult is just drugs, alcohol, smoking, swears, and murder. But we all really know that to be an adult, you gotta do the sexy stuff. There is just one sex scene and it is extremely regular. If I have two Muppets having sex, I don’t want them to just be loud screaming while people are uncomfortable. That is normal ass lazy joke humor right there. There needs to be something Muppet centric really about it. They do one act that makes it apparently unique to Muppets, something that would put Aziz Ansari to shame. But you know what we didn’t get? We didn’t get Muppet Dick. We didn’t even get Muppet Nipples. Technically, we got Muppet Vagina, but that joke was quick and a common throwback, still making it unoriginal.

Don’t gloss over that last point. If I am going to watch an adult Muppet movie, there better be Muppet titties. That is all I am saying.

Another non subtle feature is that Muppets are shit upon by the humans of society. And a lot of them are prejudice against them. Oh, okay, this is another metaphor for racism. Except it feels incredibly tacky, never super relevant, and maybe sort of belittles civil rights things in general? Hard to say, but their goal of adding it to the film felt extremely shallow.

To try and add on to a different point, let’s point out two glaring things that happened in succession. One, several cop characters claim a character was found at the scene of ALL of the murders. But at that point, he was never seen at one crime scene when it happened, and had never interacted with the character for years. So it was a bit confusing to hear that multiple times.

And two. They have an FBI character suspend a Lieutenant cop. At what fucking point can an FBI agent do anything like that to a cop? Is this movie assuming that the FBI are just bosses to cops? It goes Sergeant, Captain, then FBI field agent? It isn’t even an accident, because they made several attempts at jokes to make sure you knew that character was in the FBI.

Minor nitpicking? Maybe. But that was just two nonsensical errors I remember specifically for happening right after one another. This film is probably even more full of shit like this. The Happytime Murders isn’t original, clever, or fun. It is lazy. They spent all their time on designing sets instead of designing something worth being watched.

0 out of 4.

Muppets Most Wanted

Hello there kiddos!

Remember my last review of The Muppets? No? Well, there it is if you want to click on it. If you don’t want to, I gave it a 2 out of 4. I never watched The Muppets as a kid, so I had no sense of attachment. It was an okay movie on its own.

So when I heard that it was getting a sequel with even more cameos, even more Muppets and an even more ridiculous plot? Well, sure, why the fuck not? Muppets Most Wanted. We got a spy movie folks.

The Gang's All Here
Walter from teh first film still not necessarily important enough to make it into this shot.

So, the Muppets gang has been given a sequel. That must be true. Why else would the cameras still be rolling? They are still voiced by their normal people who voice a shit ton of them, so here they are in a list: Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, David Rudman, and Matt Vogel.

They decide that the plot of the movie should be the Muppets going on a world tour! The idea is actually suggested by Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), who might have ulterior motives for getting The Muppets around the globe. At the same time, the world’s most dangerous frog, Constantine, has broken out of his Siberian Gulag and has a plan. If he covers up his mole, he looks a lot like Kermit. He can make Kermit look like him, allowing Constantine to steal more treasure and live a rich life.

Mwhaha! The perfect plan! Especially when Kermit is back in Siberia, with a mean old guard Nadya (Tina Fey) watching his every move and a bunch of evil criminals (Ray Liotta, Jemaine Clement, Danny Trejo).

Oh, and they have an Interpol agent on their trail kind of. He is played by Ty Burrell.

Is all the celebrities? Oh fuck no. We got a lot of them. Hell, some of these guys I didn’t even recognize before. A lot of them are only up for a second or two. So I would list them, but that would ruin some of the surprise.

Man, this plot was super simple.

Sing A Long Prison
It is impressive how well they sing in those frigid temperatures!

Smiles. I had a smile on my face more or less the entire movie. Everything about it felt cute and wonderful. I only remember one of the songs from the last movie, while this time, a bunch of the songs will end up sticking with me. I mean. I really really enjoyed the movie.

Then the credits rolled and I saw that Bret McKenzie wrote it all! That’s right, we got the entire Flight of the Conchords crew working with this movie. Jemaine as an actor, Bret as the song writer. Last film he was only the music supervisor, not the writer. Also, the director James Bobin directed like, half of the FotC episodes. That’s a lot of quality humor going into this movie.

Which is why I smiled the whole film. It was completely ridiculous but it just seemed to work. The cameos were great and plentiful. The plot was absurd, but interesting. And shit, it was funny.

The last movie, again, I thought was okay and admitted I never really grew up on The Muppets. This time, some how, I loved the sequel and want more Muppets in my life.

Definitely go see this quirky movie, a new clear favorite of mine for the month of March. At least, for the films that came out as wide releases.

4 out of 4.