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Do not show your children the trailer for this Muppet movie

the happytime murders
We’re not joking.
  • Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

If you’ve ever wanted to watch Muppets kill indiscriminately, do drugs, and have riotous sex, have we got the film for you.

All of those things (and more) are featured in the trailer for The Happytime Murders, a film that—for reasons that should be obvious—was stuck in development for a decade and is now finally being released. Directed by Brian Henson, the son of Muppets creator Jim Henson and now the chairman of his father’s company, the comedy takes place in the familiar world where humans and Muppets co-exist—but there are no educational games or sing-alongs in this one.

Melissa McCarthy plays a police detective who teams up with a disgraced puppet ex-cop, Phil Phillips, to stop a serial killer who’s targeting former cast members of a (fictional) 1980s puppet series. Phillips is puppeteered by Bill Barretta, a Muppets veteran who has performed as a range of beloved characters, including the Swedish Chef and Pepe the King Prawn.

We doubt he’s had to do anything remotely like his work in The Happytime Murders, though:

Announced in 2008, the movie script bounced around studios for years before landing at STX Entertainment in 2015, and was filmed last year. Joining McCarthy and Barretta is the former Saturday Night Live player and frequent McCarthy collaborator Maya Rudolph, as well as Joel McHale and Elizabeth Banks.

The trailer is somewhat reminiscent of Team America: World Police, the 2004 comedy by the creators of South Park that took puppets and made them do unspeakable things. Perhaps The Happytime Murders will reinvigorate the “muppet sex comedy” genre.

The Happytime Murders will be released Aug. 17 in the US. Leave the kids at home.

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