Happytime Murders

Rated 3.0

In an L.A., where puppets live side-by-side with humans (albeit as despised second-class citizens), a puppet private eye (performed by Bill Barretta) investigates the murders of the stars of a 1980s kiddie show, uneasily reunited with the cop (Melissa McCarthy) who was his partner before he was kicked off the force. The premise may sound like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but don’t bring the kids to this raunchy, doggedly profane spoof of film noir. Director Brian Henson seems determined to shake off the shadow of his late father Jim by going hard-R adults-only, aided by Todd Berger’s cleverly derivative script. The puppet work is brilliant, the jokes (however tasteless) are often funny, and McCarthy and Barretta have a strong chemistry. Maya Rudolph all but steals the show as Barretta’s faithful gal Friday.