"A promising idea poorly executed" – Here’s what the critics are saying about The Happytime Murders

Where did it all go wrong for The Happytime Murders? Like her or loathe her, Melissa McCarthy has comedy chops in spades and the premise, Muppets turned R-rated, is surely worth a few laughs… right? Well, wouldn’t you just know it, the critics have been scathing about this movie. In fact, the only funny thing you’ll get from this movie might just be the critics’ reactions. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Good idea, bad payoff - Entertainment Weekly (Grade C+)

“It’s a botched experiment that inexplicably wastes a profanity-spewing Melissa McCarthy and is hobbled by a lead character… whose deadpan monotone (provided by Bill Barretta) is likely to put you to sleep. There are a few spiky moments of sick, WTF fun (a bout of rough sex that ends with a Silly String climax; the first time a puppet drops an F-bomb), but mostly it feels like a promising idea poorly executed.”

Lewd but predictable - Slant (0.5/4)

“Right out of the gate, the noir-esque narrative hits every predictable beat, while the filmmakers cram each scene with a glut of senseless puppet depravity, from cursing and extreme violence to drug use and sex acts.”

The Happytime Murders' unwise choice of social commentary - The Guardian (1/5)

“Perhaps all of this dysfunction might approach the so-bad-its-good realm of morbid curiosity, if not for the half-baked bid at racial commentary fleetingly suggested in the first act and abandoned within the first hour. (The allegorical leanings of Bright have never looked so tactful.) Or maybe it’s the questionable mechanics of the grand scheme, revealed in the denouement to make nary a lick of sense. Or maybe it’s just that the film is brutally, oppressively, exhaustingly unfunny. Except, that is, to viewers who find octopus-on-cow octuple-handjob money shots humorous. They are in luck.”

The Happytime Murders' waste of comedic talent - ScreenCrush (1/10)

“A NSFW Muppet detective spoof featuring McCarthy and other likable comedic actors like Maya Rudolph, Elizabeth Banks, and Joel McHale maybe could have been a breath of fresh air, something for parents to enjoy once the kids go to bed. Instead, Henson has given us the worst movie of the summer — and quite possibly the worst of the year thus far. The Happytime Murders tries so desperately hard to push the envelope of indecency that it crosses into the realm of being astonishingly unfunny. I honestly can’t name another time I’ve sat in a theater and witnessed such deafening silence fall across an audience during a comedy than in my press screening for this”

Don't worry, there's at least some upcoming movies out very soon that are worth watching. Promise.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.