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) 22%

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) 22%

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

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