- Movie: Movie 43
- Directors: Steven Brill, Peter Farrelly, Will Graham, Steve Carr, Griffen Dunne, James Duffy, Jonathan van Tulleken, Elizabeth Banks, Patrik Forsberg, Brett Ratner, Rusty Cundieff, James Gunn
- Starring: a bafflingly-long list of big movie stars
- Rotten Tomatoes rating: 4%
A Little Context
Oh boy… this might actually be the one bad movie that I’ve reviewed that I’m actually not going to recommend. However, if you’re like me and pride yourself on being a bad movie connoisseur (pretentious), you owe it to yourself to see this colossal turd. Movie 43 is a collection of short sketches tied together via one overarching narrative–a screenwriter pitching “outrageous” ideas. Per usual, I’m going to go ahead and include the trailer here but I want to recommend NOT watching it. I believe that one of the only ways to have fun sitting through Movie 43 is to not know who is in it, just so you can be shocked when they show up.
This movie was released in January 2013, after years of production issues. I think the best way to describe just how it can be so bad basically comes down to the fact that it never feels like it isn’t trying too hard. It seems like a bunch of unfunny people got into a room and were asked “what do audiences find funny?” The sketches then served as a checklist. Poop jokes? Check. Men are horny jokes? Check. Testicle jokes? Check. Racial jokes? Check. And this movie has the gall to be self-aware about it. The trailer calls the movie “unspeakable,” “unforgivable,” “unbelievable,” and the movie itself–the overarching narrative–refers to these sketches as offensive and unfilmable.
The unfortunate thing is that the premise here is actually pretty cool. Producer Charles B Wessler wants to do a “Kentucky Fried Movie for the modern age.” You’d have various sketches staring various actors, each one written and directed by a different person or team. Apparently this is only great in theory, somewhere along the way the finished product became this mess. I don’t know if the blame needs to be put on Wessler, Peter Farrelly (of the Farrelly brothers), one of the other producers, or the whole team, but it baffles me that out of 10+ sketches not one of them is funny.
Let’s break this thing down.
As I said early, the overarching narrative is a crazy screenwriter pitching ideas for movies. These movies are the sketches we the audience gets to see. Ultimately this part of the movie, despite not really being funny, fulfills it’s purpose of getting us to the sketches:
- The Catch: A single business woman goes on a blind date with a man who has–spoiler alert–a pair of testicles hanging from his neck. Reading that generates kind of an internal “heh” that never really escapes to form an actual laugh. You just kind of think “okay, I get it” about 30 seconds in. There are some smiles to be had but it’s mainly due to the fact that the two actors seem to be having fun here.
- Homeschooled: A kid is home-schooled and his parents try to recreate high school by being mean to him. I actually liked the premise here but, like many of the skits, just isn’t all that funny in execution and quickly moves into trying to hard.
- The Proposition: Wife wants to get pooped on. As you can imagine, this goes on for way too long. Sketch is basically just a vehicle for fart and poop jokes.
- Veronica: Ex-boyfriend and girlfriend argue/flirt. I’ll admit, this sketch gave me one good laugh. But again, it isn’t super funny and the fact that the sketch is basically just a long list of insults makes it feel like the comedy-writing equivalent of throwing 50 darts at a dart board at once, hoping a few will be a bulls-eye. Actually, that’s basically what this movie is…
- iBabe: Company develops an MP3 player that looks exactly like a naked woman (for some reason). The device’s fan is placed in the vagina (for some reason). Teenage boys are trying to have sex with the iBabe (because of course). No one understands why (for some reason). Stupid premise. Not funny.
- Superhero Speed Dating: Robin is speed dating and Batman shows up to ruin things. Goes on WAY too long and is not funny.
- Machine Kids: Children are actually inside machines. So you shouldn’t be mean to your printer. I don’t know…
- Middleschool Date: Two middleschoolers are on a date, the girl gets her period, and no one knows to do for some reason. This is just another excuse to be “shocking.”
- Tampax: Ugh…
- Happy Birthday: Two roommates have a captured leprechaun and interrogate him to find his gold. Sketch is just an excuse to punch a leprechaun over and over…moving on…
- Truth or Dare: Couple on a first date play truth or dare. Like The Catch and Veronica, this sketch isn’t really funny but is somewhat saved by the charm of the actors. But again, after it’s over, you realize you didn’t really laugh as much as you wanted to.
- Victory’s Glory: Black basketball players are better than white players because they’re black. Innovative I know. After this sketch the credits start to roll and you THINK you’re finally able to get off this shitty ride. BUT THEN:
- Beezel: Girlfriend is worried that her boyfriend’s relationship with his cat is unhealthy and that the cat hates her. The cat, by the way, is animated. The whole point of this sketch is to show an animated cat doing funny things like puking and masturbating.
And there you have it. The one positive I can say is that at least it’s not as long and painful as Southland Tales.
But Can I Drink To It?
I certainly wouldn’t recommend going into Movie 43 without strong liquor. It is a sobering experience though so don’t expect much.
Rules (to get you hammered)
1. If you find yourself not having laughed for awhile – DRINK for 3 seconds!
2. Someone says something to the effect of “wow that person is in this movie?!” – DRINK for 5 seconds!
3. Movie actually compares itself to “Howard the Duck” – finish your DRINK!
4. You made it to the credits?! – finish another DRINK!
I watched this movie for free on Netflix. You can also find it on Amazon here: Movie 43 for $12. Despite the fact that one of the dvd-only sketches is written by Bob Odenkirk, I still wouldn’t pay to own this movie.
Post by: Tyler P.
Tyler Phillippi is a former improviser and musician. Now, he mainly focuses on getting through his Netflix queue. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org