Film: Movie 43
Distributed by: Relativity Media
Anyone who has been exposed to the lengthy advertising campaign for Movie 43 has undoubtedly heard or seen the tagline claiming viewers will be unable to unsee the offensive material contained within the film. What those ads fail to mention, however, is that those same viewers will have an even harder time remembering why the hell they decided to part ways with their hard earned money for ninety minutes of rejected basic cable dick and fart jokes being beaten into the ground so hard you’re surprised the spirit of Seabiscuit doesn’t appear and try to stop them.
For better or worse, Movie 43 is a comedic anthology of shorts tied together by one of the laziest wraparound stories ever put to screen. Viewers follow a man named Charlie (Dennis Quaid) who is anxious to sell a few movie pitches to studio executive Griffin (Greg Kinnear), and he goes as far as putting a gun to his head in order to get him to listen to each and every pitch he’s scribbled onto his yellow notepad. From the start, things are offensive, and though Griffin protests, Charlie continues and in doing so dives as deeply into the depths of offensive content as humanly possible. The ideas include: “The Catch,” where we follow a woman named Beth (Kate Winslet) embarking on a blind date with notable bachelor Davis (Hugh Jackman), only to learn shortly after arriving that his testicles are located on his neck; “Homeschooled” follows parents Robert (Liev Schreiber) and Samantha (Naomi Watts) explaining to new neighbors how they bully their own home schooled child (Shameless’ Jeremy Allen White) to give him the traditional high school experience; “The Proposition” centers around a couple, Jason (Parks And Recreation‘s Chris Pratt) and Vanessa (Anna Faris), and their decision to have one poop on the other; “Veronica” follows a foul-mouthed store clerk (Kieran Culkin) attempting to win back an equally perverted old girlfriend (Emma Stone); “iBabe” finds a portable media device manufacturer (Richard Gere plays the boss) rethinking their naked woman design because teenage boys are having their penises mangled while attempting to have sex with the machines instead of listening to music; “Super Hero Speed Dating” features a night at Gotham speed dating with Batman (Jason Sudeikis), Robin (Justin Long), Supergirl (Kristen Bell), Wonder Woman (Leslie Bibb), and Lois Lane (Uma Thurman); “Middleschool Date” shows us what happens when men of any age are made aware of a woman’s menstruation when teen Amanda (Chloe Grace Moretz) gets her first period at the home of her boyfriend (Jimmy Bennett); “Happy Birthday” finds Pete (Johnny Knoxville) trying to please and earn the forgiveness of his best friend Brian (Seann William Scott) with a gift of a kidnapped leprechaun (Gerard Butler); “Truth or Dare” follows Emily’s (Halle Berry) attempt at making dating seem fun again by challenging her blind date, Donald (Stephen Merchant), to a game; and “Victory’s Glory” highlights the efforts of Coach Jackson (Terrence Howard) to inspire his African-American basketball team as they worry about an upcoming game against a team of Caucasians.
If you laughed, and I mean really laughed at one or more of the above pitches, then you can stop reading now because it’s unlikely you’ll agree with anything else I have to say. The sketches mentioned above encompass nearly every story in the film, and the jokes contained within those skits are probably the same ones you came up with when reading the descriptions, but if that caters to your tastes then by all means rush to the theater this weekend and laugh your tasteless ass off.
For the rest of us, it’s important to note that the aforementioned list of shorts is also a roundup of seemingly every bit featured in Movie 43‘s ad campaign. This is due to the fact that almost no major gags were left out of the trailer, which makes for a thoroughly underwhelming experience. Whatever gross out gag we were supposedly never going to forget has apparently been shown to us so many times already that you leave the multiplex wondering if you somehow missed a bit or two. Even when the credits stop rolling for the film’s final skit, a completely isolated storyline about a horny cartoon cat entitled “Beezle,” the constant push of offensive ideas will have numbed you into such a state of sedation that not even the fantastic Elizabeth Banks can turn things around.
Movie 43 throws every offensive idea, joke, anecdote, and visual at the screen in hopes of grabbing cheap laughs from gullible filmgoers, but never once finds room for heart, soul, or actual comedic effort. Every moment of this film feels forced, and the majority of audience members will pick up on that fact well before the film’s 90-ish minute runtime comes to a close. How so many A-list names became attached to this project is beyond me, but I have a feeling quite a few will soon be hoping to erase all connection with this feature from their past. It’s lazy filmmaking with painfully unfunny people doing things so absurd that their acts go beyond being humorous and end up somewhere in the land of senseless filth with zero replay value.
Unless the idea of Hugh Jackman dunking his “neck balls” into soup, or Halle Berry making guacamole with obviously prosthetic breasts has you rolling in your computer chair, make sure you and everyone you love avoids Movie 43 like the flu.
P.S. Never trust a comedy that sells itself as having “The biggest cast ever assembled.” If none of them are strong comedic actors, it won’t make a bit of difference.
Review written by: James Shotwell