Having highlighted the film “The Happytime Murders” in my other blog a number of times, I was a little shocked at its content when the trailer was released. I expected something along the lines of “Who framed Roger Rabbit?”
Sadly this new film is definitely NOT family friendly.
The movie is set in a world where humans and puppets coexist, although the puppets are treated as second-class citizens. When the former stars of the kids’ show The Happytime Gang start being bumped off, it takes a washed-up private eye puppet, and his former human partner at the LAPD, to solve the case.
Background to the film’s problems
Devised by Brian Henson, the original 2012 script came from Todd Berger. This was replaced in 2015 with a script by Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber.
In 2016, Jamie Foxx was rumoured to be involved in the puppet murders, playing the human half of the detective duo. But fast forward to 2017 and Jamie Foxx had been replaced by Melissa McCarthy. Joel McHale joined the cast in 2017 with The Happytime Murders due for release in August 2018.
Not Family Friendly
Brian Henson, son of the iconic Sesame Street puppets creator and chairman of The Jim Henson Company, came up with this R-rated puppet project back in 2008. And it lives up to its intended rating. Described as “a filthy comedy set in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles”, the movie is definitely not for kids. The puppet characters, and the situations they find themselves in, are not a bit like the family friendly characters we all remember from childhood.
In fact, this production is so far removed from those loveable characters that Sesame Workshop, producers of Sesame Street, have filed a lawsuit against STX Productions. They want to stop being associated with the “explicit, profane, drug-using, misogynistic, violent” film. They claim the film’s marketing, which uses the tagline “No Sesame. All Street””, seeks to capitalize on the reputation and goodwill of ‘Sesame Street’.”
Sesame Workshop says that although the trailer for the movie is “indescribably crude”, it is not seeking to block the film’s promotion. [The Official Age Restricted Video Trailer is available on YouTube]
The STX’s response? “Fred, Esq.” is quoted as saying “STX loved the idea of working closely with Brian Henson and the Jim Henson Company to tell the untold story of the active lives of Henson puppets when they’re not performing in front of children. Happytime Murders is the happy result of that collaboration and we’re incredibly pleased with the early reaction to the film and how well the trailer has been received by its intended audience. While we’re disappointed that Sesame Street does not share in the fun, we are confident in our legal position. We look forward to introducing adult moviegoers to our adorably unapologetic characters this summer.”
As Deadline Hollywood suggests, this is shaping up to be a kind of Sesame Street civil war. The story of producing this movie looks set to run for some time yet…..