Just in time for the new year, it’s Movie 43!
(Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond)
And what a way to recover from Christmas. Deck the halls with bowels of holly.
Movie 43 almost defies explanation. It is an anthology of sixteen (16!) different storylines. Each one raunchier and more ridiculous than the last. The running gag in the movie is that each scene is actually a pitch for a movie idea by struggling screenwriter Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid). He’s holding a movie producer Griffin Schraeder (Greg Kinear) hostage forcing him to listen to each and every story idea, regardless of how horrible it may be.
And man, are the stories horrible. And dumb, and ultra-vulgar. At gunpoint, Schraeder brings Wessler’s movie idea to the studio’s chief executive, who ridicules and embarrasses Schraeder. To get even, Schraeder decides to invest huge resources into the film, knowing it will cost the movie studio millions.
I don’t think we’ll have time to review all the stories here. But to give you an idea, the first one deals with a woman (Kate Winslet) on a blind date with a surprisingly eligible bachelor (Hugh Jackman). The only problem: he has testicles on his chin and nobody but she seems to notice.
Then there’s the one where a girlfriend (Anna Faris) is so in love with her boyfriend (Chris Pratt) that she wants him to poop on her chest. He, in his desire to do the deed properly, eats enormous amounts of Indian food and overdoses on laxatives. The end result is the most massive explosion of diarrhea in film history.
Yes. For this scene, I thank the makers of this film from the bottom of my…. well, from my bottom.
The premise of Movie 43 pretty much guarantees the movie’s failure. We know that Wessler’s ideas are terrible as he is pitching them to Schraeder, and yet 95% of Movie 43 is spent showing these bad ideas in their full, ahem, glory. At one point, Wessler suggests that Kate Winslet play the role of the chin-balls’ date, to which Schraeder points out that Winslet would never agree to such a role. But in this movie, where ridiculous reigns supreme, Winslet does indeed play this character.
Movie 43 is full of hits and misses, and unfortunately, the ratio of hits to misses is about 1 to 4. Much of the content of the skits is revolting and bloated with shock value. Nothing is sacred here. Jokes about incest, menstruation, and feces abound. The more outrageous, the better. In any bad movie, vulgarity is a proxy for good writing, and that’s certainly true here.
Movie 43 comes to us from Peter Farrelly of the Farrelly Brothers (who brought us last year’s The Three Stooges). The Farrellys are known for their low-brow humor and Movie 43 seals that reputation. This is the worst movie ever – but that is what it is aiming for. Many of the actors originally slated to be in the film found a way to opt-out. It took nearly 10 years to bring the whole picture together as reluctant luminaries were brought in to fulfill their obligations.
There is no rhyme nor reason to these vignettes. Although I get the impression that several of them were actual movie synopses that were turned down. If you like Saturday Night Live, you just might like Movie 43. However watching 90 minutes of SNL rejects may be more than you can take. Still, knowing is half the battle. I found Movie 43 delivered on its promise to be lewd, crude, and indecent. And I respect that. I give Movie 43 1 Reel out of 5. No heroes were harmed in the making of Movie 43 so I award it 0 Heroes out of 5.
Anthology movies rarely work because there is insufficient time to develop characters and storylines. Each story is reduced to a single thematic gimmick that is milked for about 5 or 10 minutes and then runs out of steam. And if the gimmick is truly dumb to begin with, 5 or 10 minutes feels like forever. The iBabe story is an example of a bad idea that went nowhere. It’s one long sexual joke dragged out to 10 minutes. Ugh. Then there’s the aforementioned defecation story. While the idea of pooping on someone is shocking and perhaps even mildly funny, we’re subjected to this fecal theme for 10 tortuous minutes. No thank you.
Movie 43 is 90 minutes of shocking attempts at humor that are clever at times but miss the mark far too often. The conflict between Schraeder and Wessler was uninteresting and served as a bad, bad excuse to film so many truly tasteless mini-stories. Like you, Greg, I award Movie 43 just 1 measly Reel, with the film on the reel donated to the exploding-bowel man to use as toilet paper. There were no heroes here, only victims. And so zero Heroes out of 5 from me, too.