With a handful of funny segments mixed in throughout its lineup of gross-out vignettes, “Movie 43” isn’t half as bad as I had thought it would be.
Of course, considering that I had expected it to be a sign of the apocalypse, that’s not actually saying much.
A desperate man (Dennis Quaid) forces his way on to a movie studio lot and into an executive’s office (Greg Kinnear), under the pretense of pitching a movie. Of course, he’s really full of shit, and he doesn’t have a script to sell. All he has is a series of disconnected ideas, each of which is more crass and foul than the next. The studio exec isn’t actually interested, but due to the man’s instability, he keeps listening to scene after scene.
This is the basic framework/excuse behind “Movie 43”. As a “Skit” movie, “Movie 43” is comprised of several disconnected vignettes. The ideas being “pitched” in this Hollywood meeting become the various scenes we see. No common storyline runs through any of them, and the cast turns over for each segment. As such, the quality of the movie shifts gears every ten minutes or so. If there’s a skit that makes you laugh, it won’t last. Conversely, if you hang on through the skits that aren’t up to snuff, you may find something later that you do find funny.
The term for that is “inconsistent”, which is probably one of the least offensive terms I had expected to be calling this movie, but its true.
One of the threads that is constant in the film is that you can always count on thinking “How did they get (insert actor’s/actress’ name) to do (insert foul act)?” Because certainly, the film thrives on obscenity, vulgarity, and profanity, make no doubt about it. And the big name celebrities they had doing this stuff… I mean, it was simply perplexing how they got them to do these things. Things like Halle Berry making guacamole with her breast, or Chloë Grace Moretz experiencing her first period at her boyfriends, and… I don’t even want to spoil Hugh Jackman’s birth defect.
Occasionally, this film gets the gross humor right. There are certain skits, foul as they are, that made me laugh. I have to confess and be honest about it. I don’t know if it was fully half of the skits, or every other one, but there were certainly a small handful of them where I got what they were trying to do. Unfortunately, for every skit that had me laughing, they traded it back just as quickly. It really was all over the place. “Superhero Speed-dating” made me laugh, but then right after, they made me pretty uncomfortable with the aforementioned menstruation skit. Up next though, I had fun watching Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville beating up Gerard Butler as a leprechaun. You get the idea. It’s simply a hodge podge of a movie. And one that swings wildly between funny and heinous. I did get a kick out of Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts’ “Homeschool” bit, but the film follows that immediately with Anna Ferris wanting her boyfriend to poop on her. And trust me, it gets much, much grosser than the high concept.
So while it was disgusting and despicable in many parts, I’m going to be forgiving because there were a number of times throughout the film that I did laugh. It was constantly vulgar and definitely tried to go way beyond the bounds of good taste, but there are a number of talented people involved (and a number of very big stars) and their talent caused intermittent bright spots to appear along the way.
If gross out comedy doesn’t offend you, you may one day want to give this a shot. It’s pretty inconsistent, but it’s not entirely devoid of humor.