Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, because you almost certainly haven’t — think The Heat, but instead of tough cookie Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy teams with a street-smart puppet to bust criminal scum. Step aside, Anomalisa, a new puppet comedy has arrived to freak out audiences and challenge the boundaries of what can be considered marketable for a mass audience.

That’s a real logline for a real movie, by the way. Deadline announced the gestating project The Happytime Murders in a release last night, a darkly comic vehicle for Melissa McCarthy that sees her returning to the buddy-cop mode, but with one major wrinkle in the schematic: someone’s pulling her partner’s strings. He’s not a rat on the take from Mafia types or anything, he’s just a literal puppet and can’t avoid that sort of thing. The Brian Henson-directed raunch comedy (they’re gunning for an R rating) sends the pair into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, where humans and animated puppets live together, if not always in harmony. Someone’s been picking off the cast members of the fictitious kids’ show The Happytime Gang one at a time, and McCarthy and her felt pal will have to solve the case.

It’s a weird-sounding project, made another degree weirder by the knowledge that the decidedly un-McCarthy-esque Jamie Foxx was originally slated to play the lead role. What the finished product will look like is anyone’s guess — though the design of the puppet will provide a massive clue as to the tone and makeup of this project. But we can rest assured that the puppet will almost definitely use some four-letter words.

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