THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS is many things: a murder mystery, a crime drama, a buddy cop story, a tale of diversity and inclusion, and a fallen hero’s redemption. What it isn’t is safe for children in any sense. Billing itself as the most outrageously NSFK (Not Safe For Kids), R-rated comedy of the summer, showing how puppets behave behind closed doors without kids around. Featuring the comedic talents of Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel Mchale, and Elizabeth Banks, along with the Miskreant puppets from Henson Alternative, it’s a whodunit that is decidedly NO SESAME, ALL STREET. Set in Los Angeles, The Happytime Murders explores a world where humans and puppets coexist. Like most humans, puppets run the gamut of personalities, occupations, interests, and vices. Although puppets are living among humans, they are still viewed as second-class citizens during discrimination, bigotry, and violence as they attempt to find their place in the world, living with as much dignity as possible even though they’re stuffed with fluff. The film focuses on the fractured relationship between Melissa McCarthy as LAPD Detective Connie Edwards, a volatile veteran of the force with issues and a wicked sugar addiction, and BILL BARRETTA as Phil Phillips, her disgraced former puppet partner. They were once a star team and the pride of the department until an incident led to Phillips’ dismissal. Having left the LAPD, Phillips is now a private investigator, “fighting for the felt” in the City of Angels. When several cast members of The Happytime Gang — a beloved children’s program from the 90’s — are murdered, Edwards and Phillips must begrudgingly reunite to track down the serial killer. The Happytime Murders is directed by Brian Henson (Muppets Tonight, Muppet Treasure Island), son of the legendary Jim Henson, with a screenplay by Todd Berger (Cover Versions) from a story by Berger and Dee Austin Robertson. The Happytime Murders will be in cinemas September 2018.