You know what’s not hilarious? Paying $9 a person for a movie that is so awful that you have to drink away the memories of just how awful it was. I will tell you right now that Movie 43 is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a while. The last movie I saw that was this bad was The Watch—and even THAT had a more coherent storyline than this movie.
But I have to say, despite the asshole-tearing I’m about to give Movie 43 (In other words, you should definitely stick around), it was kind of refreshing to see a really bad movie after seeing award-nominated films for the last four months because, now, I’ll feel a little less sycophantic with my reviews. Without further ado, let’s get this shitshow rolling…
Here’s how the movie’s official site describes the plot: “From the twisted minds of producers Peter Farrelly (Hall Pass, Shallow Hal) and Charles Wessler (There’s Something About Mary, Dumb & Dumber), comes Movie 43—the outrageous new ensemble comedy starring some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Movie 43 is not for the easily-offended and contains jaw-dropping, sometimes shockingly disturbing, but always entertaining intertwined storylines you’ll have to see to believe.”
Months before its release. Movie 43 created a purposely vague marketing campaign to draw in an intrigued audience. Even when it was finally released, nobody knew what the hell it was about, unless they had seen the movie, of course. But unlike Seven Psychopaths, which relied on a similar marketing strategy, Movie 43 failed to live up to its intrigue. I’d compare it to losing your virginity. You know, it’s been built up so much as this moment to remember forever, but then when it happens, you’re kind of like, “Oh, that was it? I expected fireworks and unicorns.” I would also like to point out that the movie’s official site made several lies in the plot description.
First, “jaw-dropping” and “shockingly disturbing” should be saved to describe movies like Last House on the Left, where the audience is shown a rape scene that lasts uncomfortably longer than the average, uncomfortable rape scenes tend to last. Plus, it’s not exactly shocking when hundreds of other movies have done poop jokes (That’s the problem with an overabundance of the Scary Movie franchise). Second, I have a problem with “always entertaining intertwined storyline.” Because none of the stories intertwined, nor were they always entertaining.
Since the plot description from the movie’s website was about as vague as the marketing campaign, itself, I’ll break it down for you. Movie 43 is 90 minutes of short films: The Catch, Homeschooled, The Proposition, Veronica, iBabe, Superhero Speed Dating, Middle School Date, Happy Birthday, Truth or Dare, Victory’s Glory, and Beezel. The writers attempted to interconnect all of these short films by giving an overarching plot called “The Pitch,” where screenwriter Charlie (Dennis Quaid) tries to pitch his screenplay containing all of these short films to film executive Griffin (Greg Kinnear). From what I’ve read, this was actually a change from the original plot, which was about a group of teens trying to find the ultimate banned movie on the internet. I’m not sure I would’ve have preferred that version either. Nevertheless, seeing this overarching plot right at the beginning initially gave me hope that this movie was going to be a really self-aware comedy, what with Charlie and Griffin’s discussion of how these short films were all metaphors for experiences in life. But it seemed like the writers were more intent on putting as much vulgar bullshit into each short film as possible than actually finding a way to interconnect these stories, so that the movie didn’t seem like a waste of time (I mean, for f***’s sake, Garry Marshall was able to make an interconnecting plot out of that terrible Valentine’s Day movie, and he’s losing his touch).
Now, let’s quickly criticize each short film. “The Catch” was about a blind date between single businesswoman Beth (Kate Winslet) and eligible bachelor Davis (Hugh Jackman). After they arrive at the restaurant for their date, Davis removes his scarf revealing that he has testicles hanging from his neck, and nobody else notices but Beth. While this could’ve been a good metaphor about how people on blind dates find flaws to blow out of proportion to escape getting close to someone, this short was dragged down by the fact that its story never concluded—and the pubic hair in the soup was just nasty. Next was “Homeschooled,” which was actually one of the funnier shorts. Robert (Liev Schreiber) and Samantha (Naomi Watts) talk with their new neighbors about how they homeschool their son, Kevin. When the neighbors question if this is good for Kevin’s social skills, Robert and Samantha recount all of their attempts to create a “normal” high school experience for Kevin. These attempts include bullying by the gym teacher (who is his dad), not getting invited to parties by the cool kids (in his own home), and experiencing the awkwardness of his first kiss (with his mom). Naturally, at the end of the short, Kevin meets the neighbors and turns out to be totally screwed up, though his parents think he’s doing just fine. This was such a hilarious, exaggerated social commentary about what parents think is a “normal” high school experience. But of course, half of the hilarity of this short was lost due to its overexposure in the trailer and TV spots.
“The Proposition” was one of the more disgusting short films in this mix. Vanessa (Anna Faris) and Jason (Chris Pratt) have been dating for a year, and right before he’s about to ask her to marry him, she asks him to poop on her. Yes, you read that right. Now, Jason is a little wary of this and talks with his friends, one of whom suggests that he eat a burrito and drink laxatives to give her a good poop—not “shit” because that’s what you do on whores (If you’re not catching the joke, it’s referencing “making love” vs. “f***ing”). Of course, the whole thing goes awry when Vanessa wants to savor the moment with some foreplay, and Jason is about to burst and claims he’s ready to “shit” on her. She runs out into the street crying, he chases her, he gets hit by a car and shits everywhere, and she sees how dedicated he was in preparing a massive dump for her. Everything about this short film was shit. Following that was “Veronica,” which seemed like it was more of an excuse for grocery store worker Neil (Kieran Culkin) and ex-girlfriend Veronica (Emma Stone) to exchange some awkward, cruel, and grossly sexual dialogue with no real purpose or story. So, it sucked, which is really sad when you have good talent like Culkin and Stone.
And then there’s “iBabe.” A developing company is in a meeting concerning the iBabe, an MP3 player that is designed to look like a naked woman. Because it’s not a Farrelly movie unless there are tits and a vagina, right? Well, because this movie is as obnoxious as a 13-year-old boy finding porn on the internet for the first time, the iBabe has been cutting off its users’ fingers because it has a cooling fan in the vaginal opening. While employees discuss rerouting the fan with their boss (Richard Gere), one female employee (Kate Bosworth) claims that she brought up this problem before the iBabe hit the market, acting as the anti-sexist voice that I’m sure any woman watching this movie felt during this short. And because she’s a woman, no one listens to her. Instead, the employees develop the next generation of the iBabe, using a black woman to allow users to choose their iBabe color. I wanted to facepalm during this entire short because it felt like a really bad YouTube parody. With “Superhero Speed Dating,” Robin (Justin Long) is trying to meet women, but Batman (Jason Sudekis) keeps thwarting him. He tries his luck with Lois Lane (Uma Thurman) and Supergirl (Kristen Bell) and fails, and then he and Batman fight alongside Wonder Woman (Leslie Bibb) to defeat Penguin (John Hodgman). Do you know how many good jokes they could’ve made about these superheroes but didn’t? I’d say all of them. I mean, MovieBoozer pointed out that they could’ve easily made a Batman & Robin joke with former Poison Ivy, Uma Thurman, sitting right there. But they didn’t. Because the writers only think about snatches and jizz.
Is this tiring yet? Yeah, it’s worse in the movie. But let’s keep going. “Middle School Date” was actually my favorite out of this entire movie. It was the only—I repeat, the only—short film where I laughed. Nathan (Jimmy Bennett) and Amanda (Chloe Moretz) watch TV after school at Nathan’s house while older brother Mikey (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) supervises. When Amanda goes to the bathroom, Nathan notices a red spot on the couch, assuming Mikey spilled Fruit Punch there. Amanda, meanwhile, discovers that she just started her period for the first time. When Nathan and Mikey see the blood on the back of Amanda’s pants, they freak out, assuming she’s dying, and try to find household items to plug her up. Nathan’s dad (Patrick Warburton) comes home and also has no idea what to do, and the same happens when Amanda’s father (Matt Walsh) comes to pick her up. I think the reason why this short was so funny was because this is exactly (although slightly exaggerated) what happens when fathers, brothers, boyfriends, and men in general encounter a young woman starting her first period. They have no idea what to do because they’re grossed out and/or scared. Next up was “Happy Birthday.” Pete (Johnny Knoxville) captures a leprechaun (Gerard Butler) for roommate Brian (Seann William Scott) as a birthday present. The two demand that the leprechaun give them a pot of gold coins, but the leprechaun threatens that his brother is coming to rescue him. A non-hilarious leprechaun fight ensues until Pete and Brian kill the leprechauns and take the gold coins. After they dispose of the bodies, Pete reveals that he also caught a fairy who offers blowjobs for gold coins. I’ll be honest. I went to the bathroom during the majority of this short because I just didn’t care what the hell happened. The only thing I thought during this short was that Seann William Scott has gotten kind of fat.
“Truth or Dare” was all kinds of lame. Donald (Stephen Merchant) and Emily (Halle Berry) are on a date at a Mexican restaurant, but Emily is tired of the same-old conversation starters, so they play Truth or Dare. After grabbing asses, blowing out a blind kid’s birthday candles, getting a penis tattoo, putting hot sauce in a vagina, and getting plastic surgery, the two realize they’re a good match. And here I stupidly thought it was going to be one of the funnier shorts because of the scene where Emily blows out the blind kid’s birthday candles. This just furthers my point about never trusting a trailer and TV spots. They can always make a movie look funnier than it is. Lastly, there’s “Victory’s Glory,” where Coach Jackson (Terrence Howard) lectures his all-black basketball team in 1959 about how they’re going to kick the shit out of the white basketball team because they’re black and “This ain’t hockey.” Yawn. There’s some grossly casual stereotypes about big dicks and being able to jump clean over someone, but they’re all things that have been done before, so this short feels like it’s just delaying us from leaving this goddamn movie at this point.
Oh, but just kidding! That wasn’t the last short because, apparently, the movie sucked so bad that Farrelly and Wessler want you to stay after the credits to watch another terrible short film. “Beezel” is about an animated cat that lives with Anson (Josh Duhamel) and girlfriend Amy (Elizabeth Banks). Amy knows Beezel hates her, and she one day catches Beezel masturbating to swimsuit pictures of Anson. Because, by now, you kind of just want to shoot yourself in the face, and the movie is trying to help you along with that. Amy tries to convince Anson that the cat is evil, but Anson has none of it. But when Anson offers to give Beezel up for Amy, Beezel runs over Amy with a truck and shoots her with a shotgun (The audience is like, “No, shoot us, Beezel! PLEASE!”). Amy finally is able to grab a shovel and begins beating the hell out of Beezel until she nearly murders him in front of a child’s birthday party. While the children at the party attack Amy, Anson rescues Beezel. And the audience bolts out of the movie theater to immediately ask for their money back.
Overall, I would not recommend Movie 43. I don’t think it should be classified as a comedy, as there are few to no moments of actual humor. In all actuality, this movie was an excuse to see how many offensive jokes producers Peter Farrelly and Charles Wessler could include in their movie made up of inconsistent, ill-structured, poorly written short films. And the jokes weren’t even that offensive, if you’ve watched any comedy in the last ten years. No, Farrelly and Wessler have taken the same tired formula of racism, sexism, poop, boobs, masturbation, and whatever else pre-pubescent boys find funny and repackaged it as a “groundbreaking” movie. It lacked heart, plain and simple. I’m still trying to figure out how actors like Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Richard Gere, and Uma Thurman got roped into being in this movie (My guess is blackmail). Quite frankly, if this was Farrelly and Wessler’s attempt at showing moviegoers just how gullible we are for seeing shitty movies like this one, then I guess I should say “Bravo.” Because screw craft.