When I go to something like “Movie 43”, I get mad. This is definitely the worst film I have seen in a long time (even worse than “Parental Guidance”) and I suspect it will be the worst film of the year, if not the decade.
So thornhill, you’re telling me that there won’t be some new “Saw”-type film that isn’t more disgusting, gratuitous and disheartening?
Always possible, but “Movie 43” is a different-type of ‘worst’ movie. When you watch a film this bad made by filmmakers who have made good films in the past, you have to take a deeper look and really look at all of the elements that made this film so bad. I don’t think anyone who makes a film like “Saw” ever thinks “I am making one of the best films this year”. But everyone involved in “Movie 43” has done good work in the past. So what went wrong here?
“Movie 43” is like a series of bad “Saturday Night Live” skits, all of which are way too long, strung together with a lamebrain excuse of a story. SPOILER ALERT. I will soon reveal the joke of these skits, because I IMPLORE you to avoid this movie at all costs. Don’t waste your time, money or thought on this film. Avoid it when it shows up on Netflix and iTunes. Avoid it when it is on cable. Avoid it when it is in the markdown DVD bin at your local supermarket. This film is a complete waste.
A large handful of very good actors and comedians appear in this film in small skits, most of which are directed by different people. The first thing I find mind-boggling about this movie is what any of these people thought was funny. We’ll get into that more later. But presumably, they did find something funny. I have heard that each of the actors worked for scale, which means for far below their standard fee, and that the film was made for $6 million, far below the budget of most films you will see in the multiplex. So why did Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Gerard Butler, Elizabeth Banks, Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Common, Seth McFarlane, Chloe Grace Moretz, Justin Long, Uma Thurman, Stephen Merchant, Liev Schrieber, Emma Stone, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Terrence Howard and many, many others agree to do this film? It can’t be because of the money. Hugh Jackman’s salary for the “X-Men” films has to be at least three times the entire budget for this film. Halle Berry and Kate Winslet are Oscar winners. Naomi Watts and Hugh Jackman are 2012 Oscar nominees.
The framing story is initially amusing, but it quickly devolves into a nonsensical mess. Dennis Quaid (who looks terrible) plays a struggling screenwriter who finally scores a meeting with a producer (Greg Kinnear) and begins to tell him about the movie he wants to make. Initially, Quaid seems like he might be playing a broad characature of himself. But when we learn he is playing a struggling filmmaker, the amusement ends and his character simply becomes pathetic. Also, part of the reason he looks so terrible is because he is dressed in too youthful clothing, making him look even more pathetic. Each of the skits is a part of the movie he is pitching. Thankfully, the studio executive quickly realizes the movie is a piece of crap and the screenwriter results to physical threats to get him to continue to listen. I must have felt these threats were also directed at me, because I sat through the entire film.
The framing segments are directed by the Farrelly brothers, who also direct two of the skits. They are also producers and seem to be the driving force behind this project. That makes sense. As soon as you see how cheap the segments with Quaid and Kinnear look, you will recognize their work. Honestly, everything they have done in the last few years looks like it is lit like a bad television sitcom. Everything appears flat and devoid of life, much like the stories of their films.
The first story is about Winslet going on a blind date with Jackman. At dinner, he removes his ubiquous scarf and reveals a set of testicles attached to his chin. Winslet is the only one who seems to notice. Also directed by the Farrelly brothers.
Next up are Naomi Watts and Liev Schrieber, a real-life couple, play the parents of a high-school boy who is homeschooled. They don’t feel the experience should exclude all of the humiliating high school experiences (hazing in the locker room, awkward first kisses with a girl, being called a ‘fag’) so they play these roles throughout the day with their son.
Anna Faris tells Chris Pratt, her real-life partner, that she wants him to go to the bathroom on her. So he spends the entirety of the skit eating bean burritos and laxative. No, not kidding.
Emma Stone visits Kieran Culkin in the grocery store where he works and they proceed to talk dirty to one another - their conversation is overhead on the store’s PA system and broadcast to all of the elderly who assemble nearby.
Richard Gere is the head of a company making the iBabe. Come on. Jokes about iAnything are about as original as a black comedian talking about all of those crazy white drivers.
Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Leslie Bibb, John Hodgman and Bobby Cannavale all play superheroes and villains at a speed-dating event. Let’s talk about Thurman for a moment. Ever since “Kill Bill”, she has had a very difficult time making a good film. One of the films she made, a romance with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, was not released because the production company went bankrupt. She recently had a co-star role (as did Dennis Quaid) in “Playing For Keeps”, the Gerard Butler comeback vehicle. But that flopped as well. “Movie 43” isn’t going to help her career.
Chloe Grace Moretz is on a date with a young boy at his house. But she has her first period and the young boy’s older brother, Christopher Mintz-Plasse starts to freak out and their dad, Patrick Warburton, doesn’t help either. Again, not kidding. This skit is almost mind-bogglingly unfunny.
Gerard Butler plays a leprechaun kidnapped by Johnny Knoxville who gives him to Seann William Scott as a birthday present. Both of the humans want to know where the leprechaun’s pot of gold is. But he isn’t talking. The leprechaun talks dirty and there is a lot of physical fighting.
Halle Barry meets Stephen Merchant (Ricky Gervais’ producing partner) on a first date and they start a game of “Truth or Dare” and end up with a lot of plastic surgery and fake boobs.
Terrence Howard plays the coach of a basketball team in possibly the most obvious take-off of those inspirational sports films we often see. Also, considering the rest of the skits are supposed to be funny about sexually related ideas, at least in theory, this skit is completely out of place.
Really, nothing about this film is original, funny, funny in a sick way, funny in a gross way, or well-made. It is a complete waste of time. Everyone involved in this film should be ashamed. In fact, the Oscar winners should have their awards stripped and the others who might have won an Oscar should never be afforded this accolade. Somehow, though, I think the careers of Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville are probably safe.