Release: Friday, January 25, 2013 (limited)
Two or three months’ worth of frenzied anticipation. . . . . for THIS?!?! What a waste of my time, and of an excellent cast! As if the audience reactions (or lack thereof) aren’t enough to drown this gross-out “comedy,” then we’ve gotta think bigger: how the heck are the stars of this film reacting to how Movie 43 was put together? I mean, what were they thinking getting involved?
All the previews, community buzz and generally negative reviews thereafter couldn’t prepare me for the sheer stupidity of this sprawling mess of a movie. While I understand that is kind of the whole point to Movie 43 — I sensed a mocking, if not altogether disdainful view towards not just Hollywood (hence Dennis Quaid’s role in this film) but the entire human race given the level of gruesomeness — there simply must have been at least a baker’s dozen different and far better ways to shape this rebellious beast. In the weeks and days leading up to its release, the talk about this film’s potential reached epic heights. I’m not sure if people knew what was coming. . . . .like, they actually could sense the incoming turds about to hit them in the face with this raunchfest, or what the dealio was but the faces of moviegoers nationwide as they go into the film and then exit could compare to something like pre- and post-homicide mug shots. If my point hasn’t yet been clear enough, don’t go see Movie 43 if you’re not into tasteless tastelessness.
Only go if you’re willing to subject yourself to shameful, mostly pointless rants on the state of. . . . .you know what? No. No, no no. I can’t do it. I cannot defend any part of this film by using some description that would maybe give you the impression that there is something of substance to watch here. Maybe I’ll defend its raunchiness, like so: only if you are among the most hardened of gross-out comedy veterans may you find it funny how Movie 43 throws decency out the window like a broken television from the top story during a balls-out teenage party that galvanized 80s and 90s punk-rock movies. Those moments when you are just going all-out just to fail and fall harder and harder each time. You could think of this like Jackass, in some ways (hey, yeah even Johnny Knoxville is getting in on this action!) and then if you do, realize that when Knoxville does get his turn, it’s probably one of the stronger moments in the feature.
Let’s see, what kind of a cast do we have here that Johnny Knoxville may have upstaged (read: in the five minutes or so he got to be a part of this)? Well, you’ve got Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Kate Bosworth, Justin Long, Richard Gere, Halle Berry, Josh Duhamel, Elizabeth Banks, Common, Seth Macfarlane, Liev Schrieber, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Katie Finneran, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Sean William-Scott, Uma Thurman, Jack McBrayer, Kristen Bell, Chloë Grace Moretz, Patrick Warburton, Gerard Butler, Stephen Merchant, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Stone and Kieran Culkin. My apologies to all those who I have left off that list. . .
I find most insulting of all about this gag-a-thon (not ‘gag’ as in “hardy-har-har” slapstick. . . .I mean more like the two-girls-one-cup kind) the fact that the MANY producers and directors could not make this thing work better with an ensemble like this. In fact, that might be the crowning achievement of it all: utter failure. To get back to that question I asked up top in my introductory comment(s), what must it be like to be one of these stars who were (un)lucky enough to be a part of this? Why did they get involved, other than to show the rest of the world that each of them, bless their little overcompensated souls, has the ability to say dirty and rude things like the rest of us lowly non-celebrities? Is this film really trying to purport that we are all alike as human beings, especially when we talk nasty and speak of and do stupid, ridiculous things? Is this meant to be the cherry-popping daddy of all gross-out films?
I see no other motive behind the testicles dangling from Hugh Jackman’s chin, or Kristen Bell admitting to her excessive pubic hair at a speed dating event. Cramming this many A-list names onto one bill was meant to be a buffer from (or, even more pathetically, as an enhancement to) the bizarre nature of gross-out comedies. Squirming in your chair from disgust potentially could be more fun if you trust the people saying it. We’re meant to be thrown by Emma Stone all of a sudden talking dirty (and I mean, dirty) to an ex-boyfriend in a grocery store, while the nearest microphone picks up the entire conversation for all the patrons to hear.
In reality, the only thing we’re thrown by is the discombobulation of everything put together. (Bonus points go to me since I finally get to use that word in a review. . .)
The movie is a damn mess and has literally no point to it. None. You can check out the plot on IMDb or on movie reviews elsewhere, because that alone will not tell you anything about this film at all. Here’s a brief run-down: Dennis Quaid is pitching his last-ditch attempt at being a good film director, and he’s got several skits planned out that he’s going to put together that will form a “heartwarming story.” Hah! These skits, in turn, are acted out by the vast cast and its pretty much downhill from there.
I will admit that I found myself laughing pretty hard more than a few times. I’m still not sure if these laughs were produced by what I was seeing or more from me coming to realize how ridiculous this film was intent on becoming. There are a couple of bits here and there that serve as light-hearted breaks amid the onslaught of buffoonery put forth by every one of its actors. (Et tu, Liev Schrieber??? What the hell, man?) Surely, this film could have benefited from a little bit of contrast now and again — more than the one or two skits developed that weren’t as offensive as possible. Movie 43 proves that one doesn’t need to be yelling the entire time to have their voice heard. We’ll get the idea if you just talk to us, treat us with some respect. As a viewer, you’re probably going to feel a little like an animal just for sitting through the whole movie.
Recommendation: I would say stay away. Wait for the DVD, because shelling out $10 for this one is simply nuts. I don’t regret it, since my curiosity about how atrocious a gross-out comedy can be was the only thing that led me to this point. I can no longer say that the bigger the cast, the better the movie, which is a shame.
Rated: R (for ‘ripoff’)
Running Time: 97 mins.
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