I’m usually very forgiving with bad movies. My top 10 list each year usually includes one stinker because I value pure entertainment, even if that means I’m screaming with disgust or laughing at wooden acting. But not even I can pardon Movie 43, the utterly bizarre collection of shorts from Peter Farrelly.
We’ve heard of projects getting greenlit based purely on the talent who sign on, but this takes that notion to ridiculous heights. The only thing that makes Movie 43 passably funny or intriguing is the idea of watching Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jason Sudeikis, and other fairly esteemed actors stoop to the kinds of roles that they would never touch in a normal project. Because they’re being ironic, you see.
“It’s like New York, I Love You but with more potty humor,” I tried to explain to friends before I entered the theater this morning. “It wants to be The Aristocrats and fails miserably,” is what I would now offer. If you want to see your favorite stars being depraved fucks, rent the latter documentary where famous folks like Bob Saget and Carrie Fisher compete to build a simple joke into the most twisted, psychotic punchline imaginable. At least in that case, they’re all being themselves! Here, they play paper-thin characters who are instantly forgettable.
Well, that’s a bit harsh. There are a few segments that are pretty funny, and not just in comparison to the other drivel. The most ingenious concept is “Homeschooled,” starring real-life couple Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts as parents who give their homeschooled son the ultimate high school experience. That means running him through gym drills, accosting him in the shower, and — in perhaps the entire movie’s most uncomfortable sequence — recreating the awkwardness of a first kiss.
These are the kinds of shorts where you can tell the actors are having a ton of fun with the material. It’s delightful to watch this low-key Hollywood couple just let loose and play characters completely antithetical to their usual roles. Other real-life couples (Anna Faris and Chris Pratt) or buddies (Chloe Moretz and Mintz-Plasse) team up, but they don’t have that same punch because it’s gross-out bodily humor driving their shorts. And Emma Stone’s bit? I want to scrub that from my memory forever and just remember her as Gwen Stacy.
One of the only other salvageable bits is “Super Hero Speed Dating,” starring your favorite cult and comedy actors. Jason Sudeikis’ asshole Batman brings to mind the genius CollegeHumor parodies of the Christopher Nolan trilogy. In contrast to everyone else in this movie, Justin Long plays perfectly to type as the hapless Robin. And Kristen Bell, Uma Thurman, and Leslie Bibb skewer the typical female heroes, sidekicks, and love interests.
I’m intentionally keeping the details vague because there are so few fresh punchlines and surprises that I don’t want to spoil it for those brave souls who decide to see this. Unfortunately, all of the funny premises — like Terrence Howard’s pep talk to a black basketball team — have been ruined by the previews, along with most of the good jokes. Honestly, what these directors should’ve done was released these shorts one by one through CollegeHumor, Funny Or Die, or some other online outlet. This package deal is worthless, so if they’re smart, they’ll look to somehow parsing out the material for the DVD release.
It doesn’t behoove a film to use as its tagline “Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.” You’re only reminding the audience that 1) they spent time and money on this crap, and 2) they’ve now lost respect for several esteemed actors. I never thought I would say I was grateful for schlocky ensemble rom-coms like New Year’s Eve, but I would sit through that sequel rather than relive this.
3 thoughts on “Movie 43: A Bigger Waste Of The Audience’s Money Or The Actors’ Time?”
Given that this didn’t screen for critics– at least not here in Boston– and that it’s the dumping ground of the year, and that the studio-released clip of the full ‘Victory’s Glory’ segment sucked, I’m not at all shocked to hear that Movie 43 is a terrible movie. Sort of a shame to hear. But not a surprise.
Yep, I paid $8.50 (thank god for NYC matinees) to sit through this. Definitely writing that off on my taxes.
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