Every now and then, a movie comes along with such a star-studded cast that people assume it must be a pretty good film. But even by watching the trailers for Movie 43, it’s hard to imagine that a somewhat-intelligent person could think this was going to be anything near great. If you’ve seen any of the ads, you do get that it’s a slapstick comedy and is sort of laughing at itself. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be any good though; it just gives it an excuse.
The movie was released this past weekend, and to nobody’s surprise, received scathing reviews across the board. One critic called it “the worst picture I’ve seen in many, many years”. Another deemed it “the worst film ever”. Richard Roeper of former thumbs-up fame wrote “there’s awful and THEN there’s Movie 43”. On rottentomatoes.com, it has a measly rating of 4% – referring to the percentage of positive reviews it’s received. And even the best reviews it got sound like this: “It’s rare to see a piece of shit that actually looks and sounds like a piece of shit” (addressing the film’s self-mocking tone). Granted, the average moviegoer doesn’t always agree with critics, but when a film gets those kind of reviews there won’t be a whole lot of disagreement. In fact, movie audiences who were polled by Cinemascore have graded the movie a D.
But look at the big-name actors who appear in the film. There are Oscar winners like Kate Winslet and Halle Berry, along with Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks, and Emma Stone – not to mention, current Oscar nominees Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts as well. But then I noticed one glaring name in the cast… Anna Faris. This woman is like acting kryptonite. Pretty much anything she appears in is bad. That should’ve been a sign right there. But it’s not like she’s the lead actress. There are just so many stars in this film, so the blame can’t go to her.
That brings me to my main question. Why did all of these big stars sign up? Movie 43 is produced by the guy who made There’s Something About Mary. Maybe a lot of these actors who appear in serious films wanted to work in a more comedic role to show they can stretch. There are a lot better comedies they could have chosen though. It could also be that the movie had a small budget of about $6 million and could afford to pay for all these big actors. I’m sure they saw this as easy money. This was probably the case with similar recent films such as Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve which had amazing casts but were critical bombs. To me, this is no different than a world champion boxer taking on an easy challenger just for the money. There’s no challenge and you don’t really display your skills. But you’re still getting paid. Hopefully, Movie 43 can be a lesson to those actors looking for an easy paycheck. The movie was not only a critical flop but a financial one, taking in less than $5 million in its opening weekend. If there’s anything positive to come of this film’s release, it’s that it was so unsuccessful that it will stop other ones from being made.