Set in a world where both Humans and Puppets live together, puppets are treated with a great deal of disrespect. A detective (who is a puppet) has recently turned private eye and begins to investigate odd murders. Soon he discovers the puppets being killed one by one are the cast and crew of a classic children show from the 1980s. Joining him in the investigations is his old partner, Detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy).
‘This is no Sesame Street’ is the actual tag line of this film, which is kinda funny to me considering this film has been directed by Brian Henson (son of Jim Henson’s who famously created The Muppet Show back in 1976). Brian Henson is also well known for his puppet work on films such as Labyrinth (as a puppet actor) and for directing the family-fun feature film Muppets: Treasure Island.
But! This is no kids film.
Before I get into this review, let me share something about me! I did some puppet work as a teenager. To this day, I also own a puppet as I find this aspect of entertainment fun and rather creative if done correctly (I’m nerdy I know- how did I get ever get married!).
Also, I’ll admit I’ve made jokes about the film possibly being lame on social media before I even saw it. I honestly went into my cinema, giving this film a fair go with a fresh and open mind, as I was incredibly curious to see what humour and creativity this film could deliver.
Well, as it turns out, not much…perhaps nothing at all.
As a plot, there is so much potential, but the film’s runtime is taken up by dialogue of repeated jokes we have seen in previous comedy films. The only real additions to this comedy is that the audience now gets to witness a range of puppets who are rather raunchy, do drugs (or snort up sugar) and overall like to swear a bit, which isn’t anything I feel Moviegoers are dying to see in 2018.
Melissa McCarthy (who in my opinion, has some great talent as an actress) is overall wasted here and doesn’t seem to deliver anything witty, new or refreshing with her humour. There are many moments where she doesn’t even feel like a cop, nor does she show much interest in the film. Her jokes are also predictable and repeated (tricks that get used over and over), and they come out just flat in every way possible. Even when speaking with the lead puppet, the jokes are not funny, and the dialogue between them can feel empty.
As for the puppets, I can see there are many new creations for this film. After doing some research, I discovered the film used a total of 125 puppets, 40 of them specially created for this very film. The puppets walk around like regular people thanks to the technology of digital. But sadly other than our leading puppet on the hot case, all characters within this film are forgettable. For me, after watching the movie, there wasn’t a memorable line of dialogue or even a character from this film I could remember.
Overall, this is a film that could have delivered so many jokes to a modern audience in 2018. With reused jokes that feel like they came from the ’90s, it’s hard to get a laugh from this film. Melissa McCarthy is also someone who I still respect, but she is by far more significant than this film. For a movie aimed at 15-year-olds and up, the film is predictable and somewhat pointless.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden