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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Dead on arrival

The Happytime Murders
Photo by Provided
“The Happytime Murders”

Melissa McCarthy’s latest comedy, “The Happytime Murders,” is a barely-funny procession of forced jokes and shock humor.
By the end of the 91-minute runtime, I could count the number of times I chuckled on one hand. The script just wasn’t funny.
Any good comedian knows timing and delivery are the keys to comedy. The writers and editors must not have gotten the memo. The majority of the jokes fail because of poor delivery and the ones that don’t are killed by the writers’ inexplicable tendency to over explain them. The only truly humorous moments in the entire film were spoiled in the trailers.
But poorly written, over-explained jokes weren’t the only problems with the film. The acting was noticeably awkward, especially in scenes where a human character interacted directly with a puppet character.
Most of the actors, especially McCarthy, didn’t have the skills to make the puppets come to life. Be it through a sidelong glance, difficulty maintaining “eye contact,” or more frequently an utter lack of emotional delivery, McCarthy and the rest of the cast’s performance made me constantly aware that despite the movie’s somewhat clumsy analogue for racism, puppets aren’t people.
The plot too, seemed clumsy and sloppy. The idea that some mysterious puppet or person is systematically killing all the cast members of a 1980’s puppet-starred sitcom sounds like it has potential, but the movie takes it in a direction that not only introduces several plot holes, but also invalidates one of the only semi-legitimate relationships in the entire film.
Out of all the characters portrayed in the movie, the one who seemed most relatable and sympathetic was not McCarthy as the sole human star, but rather her private eye puppet counterpart. Phil Phillips, voiced by Bill Barretta and controlled by a team of puppeteers, was literally the only character with distinct and consistent motivations. A puppet upstaged McCarthy in her own film.
The one and only good thing about “The Happytime Murders” is its concept. When I first saw the trailers a few months ago, I was actually excited for this film to come out.
I was thrilled at the idea of a neo-noir private investigator film with a Muppets-style puppet as the star, seemingly reminiscent of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” McCarthy’s involvement was just an added bonus. I remembered liking her in “Tammy” and “Identity Thief,” two otherwise questionable movies which she managed to breathe some sort of life into.
In her latest outing on the other hand, McCarthy adds absolutely nothing of value. Her character exists merely to be the clueless brunt of a few jokes, and the witless delivery device of a few more. As for the PI angle, the plot was too sloppy to make it worthwhile.
Overall, “The Happytime Murders” was a waste, not only of time and money, but also of a perfectly good movie concept. It wasn’t funny, it wasted its premise, there was almost no emotion in it at all and what little story there was came riddled with plot holes. This movie isn’t worth a trip to the theater.
Keagan Miller is a psychology junior and life and arts reporter for The Battalion.

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