Puppets like you ain’t ever seen them before…and hopefully never will again. Brian Henson, son of puppeteer and legend Jim Henson has clearly got the experience from performing in previous Muppet series to directing a couple of Muppet led movies but he squanders his fuzzy know-how in this dire ‘comedy’ feature.
Cop turned Private Investigator Phil Philips (Bill Barretta) takes on a case from a sex-mad young female who’s being blackmailed. As he roots for clues he ends up at the scenes of multiple murders and needs to team up with his former partner Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy), which would be fine if they didn’t despise each other but they’ll have to put a fractured relationship aside if they want to catch the puppet killer.
Honestly, this is a stand-out for one of the worst movies I have seen. The premise is actually a fairly great one, this notion of puppet/human coexisting could have been mined for laughs and heartfelt felt-lined emotion but it never comes close to either of these dream qualities. Todd Berger’s script is splattered with persistent attempts at what the creators assume is adult humour but is just juvenile.
If you saw ‘Sausage Party’ then this is in the same wheelhouse, though that less than amusing animation is a masterpiece in comparison to this story that hinges on the apparent comedy factor of small puppets dropping F-bombs, incessant sex jokes and a plot mystery solved by a eye-rolling ‘Basic Instinct’ reference of puppet genitalia. It’s almost as if this movie is a bunch of adults guffawing at how far they can take this idea of Muppet-like creatures doing X rated stuff; it never even gets to a point of being cringe-worthy because it starts off as try hard and beats you over the head with sex antics and swearing.
What’s dumb is that it’s not even got the selling factor of being a unique idea. Stringed puppets were rude but cleverly mastered in ‘Team America: World Police’, stage characters in ‘Avenue Q’ have done it all before and even Kermit’s roadshow Muppet mates, who are tailored nicely to children but adults alike because there’s traces of smart grown up humour; a brilliant but short-lived ABC television series had them living and working with humans and is a damn sight funnier than the 91 minutes of drivel I sat through.
There’s no interesting story; the murder mystery is badly handled and the puppet premise is wasted. In fact, worse than the relentless cursing and “look at us with puppets doing mature stuff” is the matter that this a excruciatingly boring movie.