Author's Note: This review covers a print of "Movie 43" screened in December 2012. It is likely that the film has undergone certain edits since then.
Everyone knows that January is Hollywood’s go-to month for putting out bad movies. But Relativity Media’s "Movie 43" marks a new nadir for cinema. Billed as “the most outrageous comedy ever made,” "Movie 43" is pure trash. All raunch and no brains, this collection of uninspired sketches isn’t worth a Cinemax viewing let alone a trip to the theatre. There is little doubt that the star-studded "Movie 43" will be regarded as one of the year’s worst films if not one of the worst films of all time.
"Movie 43" is a series of painfully asinine skits. The film bombards the audience with a constant stream of gross out jokes. There is no shortage of gags depicting graphic violence, masturbation, incest, dismemberment, and bowel movements. Much of the movie's humor is rather mean-spirited as well. A sketch that features Naomi Watts and Liev Shreiber abusing their homeschooled son proves to be more cruel than comical, as does a scene in which Halle Berry is dared to blow out the birthday candles on a blind child’s cake.
Perhaps what’s most disconcerting about "Movie 43" is the fact that it features so many talented actors. Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard, Richard Gere, Kate Winslet, Berry, Schreiber, and Watts should all be ashamed of themselves for taking part in this sorry excuse for a comedy. Why they elected to star in "Movie 43" is a mystery, as any paycheck they receive from working on the film cannot possibly compensate for the humiliation of being involved with such a deplorable project. Watching Jackman portray someone who has a scrotum for a chin isn’t funny, it’s pathetic.
With its rapid-fire delivery of crude vignettes, "Movie 43" is targeted to the so-called "YouTube generation." However, just about any given short on YouTube is probably more entertaining than all of "Movie 43"’s skits combined. Not that it's any surprise that the picture is a stinker. Any film that has eight writers and twelve directors is destined for lousiness. What’s more, the filmmakers behind "Movie 43"—including Steven Brill ("Little Nicky"), Steve Carr ("Daddy Day Care," "Paul Blart: Mall Cop"), and Peter Farrelly ("The Heartbreak Kid," "The Three Stooges")—don’t exactly have a stellar track record.
Gross out comedy can be entertaining if done cleverly a la "The Hangover" or "Austin Powers." But "Movie 43" is comprised entirely of lowbrow humor catering to the intellect of a 12-year-old. This flick makes "Freddy Got Fingered" look like high art. Here’s hoping "Movie 43" tanks at the box office and that such an idiotically conceived film will never again be green-lighted.