Critics Consensus

The Happytime Murders Won't Leave You in Stitches

Plus, Support the Girls is Certified Fresh, and guess A.X.L.'s Tomatometer.

by | August 23, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got  Melissa McCarthy sharing the screen with some very profane puppets (The Happytime Murders, co-starring Elizabeth Banks and Maya Rudolph) and a boy and his robot dog (A.X.L., starring Alex Neustaedter and Becky G). What are the critics saying?

The Happytime Murders (2018) 23%

Jim Henson made tons of timeless family-friendly fare with his Muppets, but — as evidenced by film projects like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth — he never saw puppetry strictly as kids’ stuff. It’s fitting, then, that his son Brian has taken that experimental spirit and injected it into The Happytime Murders, an R-rated black comedy following a murder mystery that takes place in a world populated by humans and puppets. A blend of ostensibly cuddly characters and enthusiastically adult humor, this is the kind of movie that sounds too gonzo to be real — and it almost wasn’t, enduring a decade in development before facing a lawsuit from the studio behind Sesame Street. After all that, it saddens us to report that Happytime is getting murdered by critics; reviews describe a clumsy comedy that’s too busy being aggressively edgy to actually be funny, never mind put a fresh spin on a story whose rough outline should be familiar to anyone who’s seen Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Despite that Henson pedigree and a terrific human cast that includes Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Elizabeth Banks, and Joel McHale, this looks like one to stream — if you see it at all.

A.X.L. (2018) 27%

Hollywood is definitely taking that whole “dog days of summer” thing seriously this year. Last week, audiences went back in time to imagine the first boy-and-his-dog friendship in Alpha; this week, we’re taking a peek into the future with A.X.L., in which a teenage boy (Alex Neustaedter) happens upon a canine-shaped cutting-edge military robot. Naturally, the contraption’s bureaucratic minders are eager to get their creation back on its leash, so to speak — a quest complicated by the fact that our young hero has already bonded with his new four-legged pal. So it’s Benji plus Short Circuit, but does it add up to a winner with the critics? Unfortunately, we don’t know yet, because A.X.L. doesn’t have any reviews yet. That’s rarely a positive sign this late in the week, but while we wait to see for sure how things shake out, how about a round of Guess the Tomatometer?

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

See It Skip It Valentine's Day 2019 Emmys Writers Guild of America Video Games what to watch Walt Disney Pictures Trophy Talk Paramount TLC hist Esquire BBC CNN Photos BET political drama Pirates cinemax war National Geographic PaleyFest Nickelodeon Star Wars Spike based on movie VICE Star Trek Election Trivia DirecTV Nat Geo Music Super Bowl cops Certified Fresh zombies Netflix ABC Family doctor who RT History Quiz IFC Films serial killer Mindy Kaling diversity DC Comics USA Network Britbox Amazon Ovation crossover Best and Worst Teen docudrama TruTV DC Universe Lifetime Oscars Masterpiece SXSW television singing competition Reality Competition sequel GLAAD Marvel TCA 2017 dc unscripted discovery Amazon Prime TCA Comic Book cults Reality 45 Grammys Premiere Dates Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Tomatazos Biopics DGA Mary poppins casting Polls and Games award winner Song of Ice and Fire binge Mary Tyler Moore New York Comic Con crime drama NYCC Drama medical drama 20th Century Fox Universal Rocky DC streaming service dceu Food Network robots Watching Series 2015 TV Crackle green book IFC technology Comics on TV Action Adult Swim Character Guide Animation 2018 Epix Holidays The CW dramedy Box Office comiccon miniseries First Look streaming Cartoon Network biography crime thriller period drama YA Calendar social media Ghostbusters 21st Century Fox supernatural spy thriller Sony Pictures CW Seed zombie President Columbia Pictures adaptation Comedy Central finale CBS All Access sports Logo cats jamie lee curtis 2016 A&E Schedule Hulu Mystery blaxploitation politics Bravo APB Disney Channel romance Countdown Rom-Com YouTube Red adventure transformers Apple ratings VH1 Spring TV Acorn TV FXX HBO CMT Paramount Network Horror crime TCM Shondaland Pixar festivals CBS Summer SDCC 007 psycho The Arrangement Fall TV Brie Larson Shudder ABC NBC Ellie Kemper boxoffice Lucasfilm Christmas comic Podcast OWN Disney Thanksgiving FOX Toys Superheroe Superheroes TBS Captain marvel E! Musicals Infographic San Diego Comic-Con Freeform Fox News GoT thriller Nominations Winners Set visit anime ESPN Starz Black Mirror Comedy Sci-Fi SundanceTV Opinion Creative Arts Emmys Interview MCU LGBTQ Year in Review Sundance AMC mockumentary GIFs sitcom Spectrum Originals BBC America Red Carpet TNT FX Kids & Family Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Sundance Now facebook 2017 Country USA 24 frames composers talk show Anna Paquin Dark Horse Comics YouTube Premium Marathons WGN spider-man MTV Cosplay mutant TV Land golden globes harry potter Tumblr Awards Tour MSNBC TIFF travel science fiction Extras cooking X-Men Musical Martial Arts E3 Winter TV Awards Trailer historical drama History PBS El Rey American Society of Cinematographers vampires Sneak Peek justice league police drama Warner Bros. Rock Syfy Lionsgate Pop Fantasy Mary Poppins Returns ITV aliens Western Showtime