Movie 43 - movie review
Four years in the making but presumably only five minutes in the writing, easily the funniest thing about Movie 43 is the outrage that’s spewed forth from some quarters at the high-profile – or more accurately, “high-profile” because none of these guys are opening blockbusters with their name alone these days – cast that’s lowered themselves to appear in this silly filth. Oh wait, they’re ACTORS. Appearing in movies is their job. Gerard Butler is in a bad film? Again? Hugh Jackman appears in this film with a pair of balls dangling from under his chin, and it’s still a better written role than the one he had in Van Helsing.
Sketch comedy movies were big in the 70s so this is hardly groundbreaking stuff format-wise. Which is unfortunate, because the format is the only interesting thing about this film. Unless you feel like speculating why a bunch of B-list actors would appear in a string of frankly terrible comedy sketches, and that’s only interesting if you don’t realise that filming each individual sketch (the “four years in the making” was more about trying to get people to be in the movie) probably only took a day or two and made them look like people who are up for a laugh. How is this a bad thing? Let’s read on.
Opening with perhaps the most half-assed premise for a sketch movie ever – Dennis Quaid is a creepy nut pitching crap ideas to movie executive / wimp Greg Kennear, eventually at gunpoint – his first idea is a “smart movie with heart” where Kate Winslet goes on a blind date with Jackman and his throat balls, which proceed to shed pubes in his soup, get dunked in his soup, shrink in cold weather, and end up being rubbed on Winslet’s face. This is one of the best sketches in this film.
Next we get Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber as home schooling parents determined to ensure that even when home-schooled high school is “the unhappiest time in a young boy’s life”. Cue various harassments, torments, and confusing sexual come-ons. Unlike pretty much every single other sketch in this film, this one not only has an idea but explores it in a couple of ways that you conceivably may not have guessed the second the sketch started. So if you leave after this one, you’re missing nothing.
Some of the other sketches that follow also feature an actual idea. Anna Faris wants her boyfriend Chris Pratt to “poop” on her; on a blind date Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant take a game of truth or dare way too far. Others don’t: Kieran Culkin and Emma Stone abuse each other at a supermarket checkout (if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen this segment’s only actual funny line); Richard Gere chairs a board meeting to discuss why teenage boys are sticking their dicks into a giant iPod that’s built to be identical to a naked woman. A naked woman is wheeled in. Richard Gere feels her up.
There’s a long, long, will-it-ever-end segment about superhero speed dating that is cheap and almost offensively pointless even if you find the idea of Batman constantly cock-blocking Robin funny. There’s a couple of fake commercials that certainly look like commercials. Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott kidnap a sweary leprechaun (Gerard Butler) and beat him up for his gold. Chloë Grace Moretz (clearly filmed at the start of the four year production cycle) gets her first period on a date in an all-male household who have no idea what to do. And Elizabeth Banks gets to utter the immortal line “die you dick-loving devil cat” to an animated feline she caught jerking off to pictures of her boyfriend. Like just about everything here, it’s not as funny as it sounds.
The problem isn’t that name actors are in these sketches. The problem is that the film’s only real joke is that they got name actors to be in these sketches. Otherwise, these sketches would be rejected from your average community television comedy series. Occasionally there’s a moderately lively performance or a surprising line, but that’s it. When your film’s very best joke is “How’d you get on the lot?” “I blew the security guard” “Was he gay?” “Not really, he fought me every inch of the way”, maybe it’s time you gave the development money back.
Dick jokes and ass jokes ball jokes and period jokes and blowjob jokes and vagina jokes and poo jokes and pube jokes and boob jokes, and then even more dick jokes and ass jokes ball jokes and period jokes and blowjob jokes and vagina jokes and poo jokes and pube jokes and boob jokes aren’t the be-all and end-all of comedy, but you wouldn’t know it from this film. You wouldn’t know anything from this film. Wait, no, there is one thing: you would know what Stephen Merchant would look like if he had amazingly clumsy surgery to turn him into an Asian man. You wouldn’t watch that as a screencap; why bother when it’s a (barely) feature-length film?
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