Have you ever had somebody tell you not to do something, but you just had to do it anyways? Imagine someone is in an accident, they get a horrible scar and you are just so curious that you have to see it. They tell you it's gross, that it isn't worth seeing and that it may have an adverse affect on how you see them thereafter. You brace yourself and say, that's OK, I'm good...I'm ready.
And then, you instantly regret this situation your curiosity has put you in. You can't un-see it. You are forever scarred.
Welcome to Movie 43! It's a film clever in its design, because it features so many well-known actors, writers and directors, that the viewer can't really determine where to focus the blame. Well played, twelve directors and nine writers officially credited on Movie 43.
But I should have known when this film was not shown to critics. They were doing me a favor, in by-passing this mess. I in turn, shall play it forward, giving you the wise advice to save your money and skip this absurd, vulgar and mostly un-funny train-wreck of a film. I have a feeling however, that your curiosity will get the best of you. Don't say you weren't warned.
The film steals the framework of the cult-classic 1977 film, Kentucky Fried Movie, which launched the careers of directors Jim Abrahams, the Zucker brothers and John Landis. It is basically a series of unconnected "short films" or sketches, and Movie 43 features a cornucopia of A and B-list stars, from Halle Berry to Richard Gere to Terrence Howard (see below for a giant list of stars appearing in this film).
The through-line of the film features Dennis Quaid as a mentally unstable screenwriter who has forced his way onto a Hollywood studio and into the office of a movie executive, played by Greg Kinnear. Many of the "shorts" presented are pitches from Quaid to Kinnear, who is eventually held at gun point in order for more shorts to be heard.
In one, Kate Winslet's goes on a blind date with Hugh Jackman's character, who seems to be a really nice catch...until it is revealed that he has testicles hanging from his neck. Nobody else seems to notice but Winslet. Later, Quaid's character tells us, jokingly, that this is symbolic of how we find problems with everybody else, but that we should learn to look past such "character" flaws.
The other skits, I'm afraid, you will have to look much harder to find any deeper meaning. Take the short featuring Anna Faris and Chris Pratt, where Anna's character wants Pratt's character to be her first...to poop on her (literally, as if there was any other way to interpret that).
Then there is Richard Gere, an executive in charge of the new iBabe, which is basically an iPod in the form of a naked lady. Young boys keep getting mangled in the "vagi-port," and he must find a way to overcome this PR nightmare.
Elsewhere, Elizabeth Banks is tormented by a masturbating animated cat, Terrence Howard coaches his all-black basketball team by simply telling them "you're black" as the reason they will win over their white opponents and Stephen Merchant and Halle Berry engage in a game of "Truth or Dare" in a restaurant that concludes with Merchant getting a tattoo of a penis on his face and Berry blowing out the birthday candles of a blind boy.
The one short that I found even remotely funny was the "Gotham City Speed Dating" short, where Justin Long plays Robin, who can't get a date because Batman (Jason Sudeikis) keeps blocking him out. Kristen Bell appears in this scene as does John Hodgman as the Penguin, which is only funny because Hodgman and Long famously appeared together in a series of Apple commercials as "PC" and "Mac," respectively. With SNL-er Sudeikis at the center, this sketch seemed more like something we would see on SNL, where his energy was more in line with the comedy, as opposed to say, Richard Gere playing it straight.
Movies like this aren't meant for critics, but as a fan of stupid humor and for someone who is rarely offended by anything, Movie 43 is no Kentucky Fried Movie. Director Peter Farrelly - one half of the Farrelly brothers who brought us films like There's Something About Mary and Dumb & Dumber - said about this film, that it will be loved by young people and especially stoners.
Well good for them, but I suspect even stoners possess elements of taste. I hope they enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed leaving the theater afterwards. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
Run Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Terrence Howard, Common, Charlie Saxton, Seth McFarlane, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, J.B. Smoove, Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Jack McBrayer, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Gerard Butler, Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel
Written by Steve Baker, Will Carlough, Jacob Fleisher, Patrik Forsberg, Matt Portenoy, Greg Pritikin, Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosenko, Elizabeth Wright Shapiro
Directed by Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Brett Ratner, Jonathan van Tulleken
Opens locally on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 (check for show times).
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