Review: Movie 43
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Brett Ratner, Jonathan van Tulleken.
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Kieran Culkin, Emma Stone, Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell, Leslie Bibb, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Gerard Butler, Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant, Terrence Howard, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel.
So as the advertising says, What is Movie 43?
Well as it turns out, what it is, is a series of short sketches that have absolutely no connection to one another that are akin to what you would find on an episode of late night show Saturday Night Live, only they’re not funny, they’re not especially imaginative, and some of them are so puerile that they go as far as to be a crime against cinema. They just come across as a selection of sketches from some kind of Saturday Night Live reject pile.
Right from the start of this review, I’m not gonna’ soft coat it – it’s a catastrophe is what it is, and for starters doesn’t even deserve to be called a movie. There is a central ‘story’ that is used to link between the sketches, that involves a boy and his friend trying to get revenge on his little brother by loading his computer with viruses from porn websites, while distracting him with the search for an illicit ‘ring-type’ video on the internet that will make someone pull their own… equipment off. So, as the boy searches online for the mysterious ‘movie 43’ he finds videos one by one, which we then endure one after another.
So, let’s go over the sketches that we’re treated to.
The Catch: Kate Winslet’s character turns up at a restaurant to meet a man on a blind date, played by Hugh Jackman, who everyone seems to rant and rave about. We see his photo on a magazine cover with a quote ‘Why is this man still single?’ next to it, and after the two of them take off their jackets and scarfs we see why – he has a pair of testicles hanging from his throat. Yes, that’s the setup. As you can imagine, the tone then takes a very steep nosedive, going straight past the kerb, the gutter, and pretty much into the sewer where it remains for the entirety of the time. It’s even astounding that they managed to talk Kate Winslet into appearing in the movie, much less her agreeing to basically be t-bagged on screen. No, seriously.
Homeschooled: A sketch in which parents (played by real life couple Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts) explain to their neighbours about home schooling their son (played by Alex Cranmer) and we’re presented examples of this in the form of flashbacks. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen some of this as it’s one of the sketches heavily used in the trailer. What you haven’t seen though, is a couple of really tasteless moments where, after explaining about wanting their son to have the ‘full teenage experience’, there’s flashbacks firstly of his mother, pretending to be another student, makes out with her son in his bedroom (after which it’s implied that they went ‘all the way’) and then a similar scene with Schreiber, in which he appears to be admitting to a secret homosexual crush on him, testing the waters to see if he feels the same. It’s a point at which the entire audience was deadly silent, and only the first example of where the writers, directors, and cast had all seriously misjudged the fine line between comedy and crass unpleasantness.
The Proposition: At a picnic where Chris Pratt’s character is getting ready to propose to his girlfriend played by Anna Faris, she instead asks him to show his love for her by being the first person to defecate on her. Yes, you did read that right. The one thing you can at least say about this sketch is there’s very little pretence about it. As Pratt’s character discusses the situation with his buddies at a barbecue, and ultimately decides to go ahead, with the assistance of Mexican food and a full bottle of powerful laxative. This is likely to be the first moment that may induce actual vomiting for those weak of resolve surrounding bodily excretions.
Veronica: Okay, so here we have a sketch with Kieran Culkin playing the cashier at an all night supermarket with several people of all ages listening to him read out the weekly specials over the loud speaker. Enter Emma Stone’s character, who it seems Culkin’s character had been dating. Cue dirty innuendo filled sex-talk between the two of them, whilst accidentally being broadcast across the entire store, because that’s funny, right? No, it just doesn’t work – that moment when you’re a teenager watching a movie with your parents and an explicit sex scene comes along, that’s how awful this is. And it goes on and on for far too long like it’s fuelled by the energizer bunny.
iBabe: A sketch which perhaps could have been a great satirical dig at a well known brand of electronics, with the latest version of an mp3 player which happens to look exactly like a full size naked female body. As a committee headed by Richard Gere’s character sits discussing the latest problem whereby young men are inserting body parts into the ‘vagiport’ (no, I’m not making this up) where there happens to be a fan that is then mangling said body part. As the only woman at the table (played by Kate Bosworth) clearly explains things, she is ignored by everyone until one of the other people points out the situation in a 3 step plan that Richard Gere’s character then finally appears to listen.
I have to admit, one of the quick iPod type adverts in this sketch involving the phrase ‘The iBabe, don’t **** it’ displayed on the screen, did illicit a giggle from the audience, if only for the sheer insanity of it being displayed on screen, but this sketch is one of the ones that resulted in some people – all female – walking out of the movie. It’s tasteless, and has a real air of misogyny about it that is fairly evident throughout the movie but especially prevalent in this and one other sketch.
Super Hero Speed Dating: Yeah, okay, pretty much what you would expect from the title if you saw it on Saturday Night Live, only like the rest of this movie, it’s incredibly tedious, and condescending to both women and comic book characters. Batman, Robin, Superman (guess what bodily fluid is used to maintain that curl of hair on his forehead), Supergirl, Lois Lane, The Penguin, The Riddler, Wonder Woman (although as a comic book fan I do have to give them props for not mixing up DC and Marvel). A sketch that would be good if it were about 30 seconds long. It is, instead, about 5 minutes too long.
We’re then treated to a very short, almost advert like sketch called ‘Machine Kids’, in which it’s shown that inside all machines like ATM cash machines and photocopiers actually have kids inside them that do all the work instead of mechanical components. It’s lame, it’s not funny, it completely slows the movie down. Honestly, when this came on I almost uttered the words that go along with the acronym WTF.
Middleschool Date: This is the most cynically misogynistic sketch of them all. A pair of teenagers hanging out after school begin to make out when the girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) happens to get her first period. In walks the boy’s brother (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who proceeds to make panicked suggestion after panicked suggestion for how to deal with the situation (if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know some of his suggestions). Okay at this point, it’s not so degrading. But then in walks the father of the boys and then the father of the girl, all of whom are just as panicked as Mintz-Plasse’s character and uncomfortably joke about the situation as the girl looks on panicked and unaware of what’s going on. Again, this is one of those ones that radically mis-judges the line and goes too far. Hell, in a decent comedy movie this could have just been a decent scene given a proper setup, but with a sketch there’s just not the opportunity to do such a thing.
Then after that there’s yet another ‘advert’ for Tampax products, extremely short, pointless and basically a rip off of Jaws, in which a woman floating in the ocean watches on as, in graphic detail, her fellow swimmer is bitten in half by a shark because she is on her period. Yes, it’s that messed up.
Happy Birthday: Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott play room-mates whose friendship has been ruined by Knoxville sleeping with Scott’s girlfriend. To make things up to him, Knoxville’s character shows him something he’s got him in the basement to cheer him up – A leprechaun (played with the aid of some special effects by Gerard Butler), who is one of the most foul mouthed unpleasant creatures to exist (given this example), and the two proceed to beat up said leprechaun so that he gives them his pot of gold. As you can probably predict, things get out of hand, a gun is involved, and someone loses an eye. Even physical humour, which is not easy to screw up, gets screwed up here by far too much foul language, and over the top gore. Even Quentin Tarentino has shown more restraint than this.
Truth or Dare: Another blind date sketch, where Stephen Merchant and Halle Berry’s characters meet up at a restaurant. All seems to be going well, until she decides to mix things up a little by starting a game of truth or dare, which starts out with a couple of decent ideas (the ones seen in the trailer) before taking things way, way, too far again and going the route of things like making guacamole with a woman’s breast, having a tattoo of a giant ejaculating penis drawn on the side of your face, and inserting hot sauce into sensitive bodily orifices. I’m pretty sure this was another point at which several people walked out. Though I have to be honest and admit, I don’t remember what it was, but a line said by Steven Merchant in this sketch that did get me to giggle at one point.
Victory’s Glory: (which can be viewed online in it’s entirety here – http://www.traileraddict.com/clip/movie-43/victorys-glory beware, uncut and containing strong language). This is the one many will know from the trailer in which Terrance Howard plays the coach giving a prep talk to his basketball team telling them that they are going to win simply because they are black and the other team are white. What genuinely did get some laughs in the trailer from this sketch, here is just painful, as he says the same thing over and over again. People complained about the gratuitous use of the N word in Django Unchained, here the slightly weaker derivation is used by the white basketball team and repeatedly.
Beezel: This is the last sketch in the movie, a kind of Garfield spoof with Elisabeth Banks moving in with her boyfriend Josh Duhamel only to find that his (animated) cat is the jealous type and wants her out of the way. Now, this is actually one of the better sketches that, with a bit of work, could have maybe been a good series of shorts on the internet, but as it’s the last sketch of the movie, and most won’t see it because they will have walked out. The reason for this, aside from all that comes before it, is that the producers seem to have realised that they were pushing the limits of what the audience are willing to sit through, and decided to show the start of the credits (listing each sketch one by one with some truly awful ‘hilarious’ out-takes) before showing Beezel. Though it does make an attempt to be decent, it’s not long before this sketch though drops down into obscene crassness, I mean, honestly, what is funny about a cartoon cat masturbating to a series of photos of his owner? Well… wait, that does sound kinda funny, but the problem is that in the movie it’s not, it’s bile inducing.
It’s astounding that anyone though that this was a good idea, and even more that they managed to get some of the acting alumni that they did for this movie. Though it does seem that some have had the good sense to turn down roles (George Clooney was asked to appear in ‘The Catch’ as a version of himself where he shows how bad he is at picking up women, and Colin Farrell was originally going to play the leprechaun before backing out and being replaced by Gerard Butler), and apparently some did attempt to get out of roles but were guilted into staying with the project according to director Peter Farrelly.
Even more mind boggling, is the fact that for some reason, the US version has an alternate sketch used to tie it together entitled ‘The Pitch’, instead of the one in the UK version about the three boys searching for an illegal video on the internet. The sketch has a deranged screenwriter (Dennis Quaid) pitching obscene story after obscene story to a Hollywood executive (Greg Kinnear), and given the level of obscenities found throughout the rest of the movie, there’s no clear reason why this wasn’t used in the UK version. With similar spoof-type movies like the Scary Movie series, or the likes of the further depraved Date Movie, Disaster Movie, Dance Movie, Meet The Spartans and Vampires Suck (I could go on), there were some alternate scenes for jokes (and I use that term loosely) that had a different meaning or that were considered too racy in different territories, but there’s been no explanation as to why this was changed, or even why both were filmed. It seems now that we’ve entered an age where satire has been confused with gross out comedy, which is unfortunate, because before all of these horrific ‘spoof’ type movies came along, there were some great satirical comedies, and it would be nice to see a new one given the current state of things in the world.
It’s now also emerged that there was a sketch about necrophilia (google it), which the producers actually did consider too much to include both in the UK and US cinematic versions… it will be on the DVD release. See that at your own peril when it’s finally released, I know for certain I will be staying well away from Movie 43, it breeds nothing but contempt in me for everyone of the people who are responsible for it’s creation, and embarrassment for every one of the stars who appear on screen. If they make a Movie 44, I may just have to hurt someone, it makes Keith Lemon: The Film look competent, make of that statement what you will.
Posted on January 30, 2013, in Reviews and tagged Anna Faris, Bob Odenkirk, Brett Ratner, Chloë Grace Moretz, Chris Pratt, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, elizabeth banks, emma stone, gerard butler, Griffin Dunne, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, James Duffy, James Gunn, Jason Sudeikis, Johnny Knoxville, Jonathan van Tulleken, Josh Duhamel, Justin Long, Kate Bosworth, Kate Winslet, Kieran Culkin, Kristen Bell, Leslie Bibb, Liev Schreiber, naomi watts, Patrik Forsberg, Peter Farrelly, Richard Gere, Rusty Cundieff, seann william scott, Stephen Merchant, Steve Carr, Steven Brill, terrence howard, Uma Thurman. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.