Friday, June 21, 2013

Movie Review: Movie 43

Movie 43
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks (Middleschool Date), Steven Brill (iBabe), Steve Carr (The Proposition), Rusty Cundieff (Victory's Glory), James Duffy (Super Hero Speed Dating), Griffin Dunne (Veronica), Peter Farrelly (The Pitch, The Catch and Truth or Dare), Patrik Forsberg (Tampax), Will Graham (Homeschooled), James Gunn (Beezel), Brett Ratner (Happy Birthday), Jonathan van Tulleken (Machine Kids).
Written by: Rocky Russo & Jeremy Sosenko & Ricky Blitt & Jeremy Sosenko & Bill O'Malley & Jacob Fleisher & Elizabeth Wright Shapiro & Matt Portenoy & Will Graham & Jack Kukoda & Patrik Forsberg & Olle Sarri & Claes Kjellstrom & Jonas Wittenmark & Tobias Carlson & James Gunn & Will Carlough & Jonathan van Tulleken & Greg Pritikin & Steve Baker.
Starring: Dennis Quaid (Charlie Wessler), Greg Kinnear (Griffin Schraeder), Common (Bob Mone), Charlie Saxton (Jay), Will Sasso (The Pitch), Odessa Rae (Danita), Seth MacFarlane (Seth MacFarlane), Hugh Jackman (Davis), Kate Winslet (Beth), Jeremy Allen White (Kevin), Liev Schreiber (Robert), Naomi Watts (Samantha), Anna Faris (Vanessa), Chris Pratt (Jason), J.B. Smoove (Larry), Kieran Culkin (Neil), Emma Stone (Veronica), Cathy Cliften (iBabe), Cherina Monteniques Scott (iBabe), Richard Gere (Boss), Kate Bosworth (Arlene), Jack McBrayer (Brian), Aasif Mandvi (Robert), Justin Long (Fake Robin), Jason Sudeikis (Fake Batman), Uma Thurman (Fake Lois Lane), Bobby Cannavale (Fake Superman), Kristen Bell (Fake Supergirl), John Hodgman (Fake Penguin), Leslie Bibb (Fake Wonder Woman), Phil Crowley (Narrator), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Mikey), Chloƫ Grace Moretz (Amanda), Patrick Warburton (Dad), Jimmy Bennett (Nathan), Matt Walsh (Amanda's Dad), Coleen Hoffman (Blonde Woman), Elbe Van Der Merwe (Brunette Woman), Gerard Butler (Leprechaun 1 & 2), Seann William Scott (Brian), Johnny Knoxville (Pete), Halle Berry (Emily), Stephen Merchant (Donald), Terrence Howard (Coach Jackson), Aaron Jennings (Anthony), Jared Dudley (Moses), Corey Brewer (Wallace), Elizabeth Banks (Amy), Josh Duhamel (Anson).

Imagine a collection of the worst Saturday Night Live sketches, multiple that by 100, add in a bunch of movie stars and vulgarity, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the experience of watching Movie 43 is. The film has a framing device, that is also horribly unfunny, but basically it is a collection of short films, made by directors who should have known better, and movie stars, who also should have known better – but at least go for broke. There is a reason why Movie 43 will likely show up on every critics worst of list at the end of 2013 – it really is as bad as you’ve heard it is.

There are sketches involving Kate Winslet going on a blind date with Hugh Jackman – and discovering just why this seemingly perfect man is still single. Of Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber trying to create the humiliation of high school from their home schooled son. Anna Faris requesting something disgusting from her boyfriend Chris Pratt. Kieran Culkin and Emma Stone saying disgusting things to each other over a grocery store intercom. A board meeting discussing why the iBabe is mangling people’s penises. Of Justin Long as Robin being cock blocked at a speed dating night by Jason Sudekis’ Batman. Of Chloe Grace Mortez having her first period with nothing but oafish men around. Of Johnny Knoxville giving his roommate Seann William Scott a leprechaun played by Gerald Butler as a birthday present. Of Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant on another blind date, that turns into the most offensive game of truth or dare imaginable. Of Terrence Howard coaching an all-black basketball team going against an all-white basketball team. And finally, the story of a perverted animated cat trying to get rid of his beloved owner’s girlfriend.

I’m sure on paper, at least some of these ideas sounded funny. Hell, I even chuckled at the iBabe sketch, and when I first saw the preview, I laughed out loud at Terrence Howard responding to a player who said all they had to was have faith in the lord than “The Lord all did his part. He made you black”. Yet, even though that sketch – far and away the best in the movie – runs less than 10 minutes, it still runs out of steam far before it ends. As for the rest, yes, there is a germ of an idea to all of them that could be made funny – if the screenwriters involved actually tried to make them funny and not just offensive. The most fascinating thing about the film may be how the hell they got so many movie stars to agree to be in it. I know they filmed the movie over a few years, grabbing stars for a day or two of filming when they could, but still, they should have known better. Apparently at least Colin Farrell did, who backed out of playing a leprechaun. Good for him. Still, you have to give these movie stars credit – no matter how offensive the material is here, they dive headlong into it and go for broke, especially Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant. They may be awful in the film, but good lord, how they tried.

The segments were directed by people who have all made better movies (and Brent Ratner) and was the brainchild of Peter Farrelly, one half of the Farrelly brothers, who at one time were masters at this sort of wildly offensive comedies. After all, they made Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary, Shallow Hal and Stuck on You. But after an average foray into less offensive comedy – Fever Pitch (2005) – they’ve made one dud after another (The Heartbreak Kid, Hall Pass, The Three Stooges). They’ve never made a film this bad before – and I doubt they will again. This one it’s tough to top in terms of its pure shittiness. I think of the sake of everyone involved with Movie 43, we should simply all agree never to discuss it again.

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