Review / ‘The Happytime Murders’ (MA) half a star

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BRIAN Henson’s career as a director is heavily weighted by animation and puppetry that have delighted children of all ages in most countries.

So what’s a Brian Henson movie doing brandishing a classification that excludes kids not yet 15 years old?

Well, it’s because Todd Berger’s screenplay is set in a city where the major industry is pornography, performed and marketed by muppets. Its theme is that somebody is murdering the cast of popular TV series “Happytime”. Where would TV be without a copious flow of murder?

You can show porn without crossing the line separating simulated sex involving muppets made of fabric from actual sex between living humans. And not crossing the line is what “The Happytime Murders” does. Just. Delivering much less bare human skin than you might find in films rated M, it has earned an MA classification for a robust vocabulary and images of rag dolls cavorting as humans do without exchange of fluids (except for one sequence using an out-of-shot aerosol can of whipped cream!)

It’s possibly an unspoken truth that kids today know more about their bodies earlier than they did, say, half a century ago. This film is touted as a comedy, but it’s not either form of funny. Nor is it erotic, stimulating, ribald or obscene by contemporary standards. I have difficulty categorising it into any creative or stylistic genre. Watching it, the feeling suffusing me was, how dull!

At Hoyts, Dendy, Capitol 6 and Limelight

 

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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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