There are plenty of bad movies out there. To be more specific, there are plenty of bad comedies out there. And in my eyes, no type of bad movie is worse to endure than a bad comedy. If a bad movie’s trying to take itself seriously, you can at least get the occasional unintentional laugh at some of the things it screws up. But bad comedies throw unfunny joke after unfunny joke at the audience, and the worst of these rank among some of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Now, Movie 43 is taking up valuable theater screens nationwide, and the result is, to put it mildly, an insult to audiences and filmmakers in every possible way.
The movie is an anthology collection of several shorts that don’t have any true connection to each other. The framing story involves Dennis Quaid as a screenwriter trying to pitch his movie to a studio executive played by Greg Kinnear, which only results in bad dialogue and lame attempts at being clever each time it comes back on the screen. Not only that, but this main story doesn’t even have a proper conclusion. Out of nowhere, it switches into a meta, self-referential series of jokes and just jumps to the last two shorts before the credits roll.
The individual shorts revolve around incredibly stupid and juvenile premises of varying degrees of plausability. I’m going to be vague with some of these descriptions, because children might read this review. The first short involves Kate Winslet on a blind date with Hugh Jackman, who happens to have a certain vulgar body part unnaturally placed on his neck for all to see. The next is an incredibly mean-spirited segment revolving around two parents homeschooling their son and attempting to give an authentic high school experience through simulating peer hazing, bullying, and overall torment.
The other shorts include such gems as two friends finding a leprechaun, tying him up in a basement, and beating him until he gives them his pot of gold. Another has two people on a first date playing an increasingly ridiculous game of Truth or Dare. Finally, one of the last stories shows us a basketball coach giving his team a pep talk revolving solely around the idea that they will naturally win because they’re black.
There are numerous other shorts, but I’m not going to get into them, either because their basic synopses are too vulgar to mention here or because I don’t want to revisit them again, even if it’s just through memories. All you need to know is that every last one resorts to cheap shock humor with no substance or cleverness behind it in a weak attempt to get a reaction out of those unfortunate enough to be watching this.
The most baffling aspect of the film is how star-studded the cast is. I mentioned Jackman and Winslet, but there are also plenty of other big names, including but not limited to Halle Berry, Seth MacFarlane, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, and several other familiar faces. From what I understand, the only reason some of them agreed to be in the movie was simply because the people behind it kept pestering them until they gave in. It was practically surreal seeing Hugh Jackman, fresh off a great Oscar-nominated performance in Les Miserables, sinking to such a low alongside actresses such as Winslet and Berry who actually have earned Oscars, and have no excuse to resort to being in such an embarrassing film.
Movie 43 is an absolute trainwreck. It’s frustrating and maddening to think that it got greenlighted for production, while there are doubtlessly other, much more clever scripts out there that have been rejected. It’s an insult to filmmakers, an insult to moviegoers, and an insult to film in general. I’ve done almost 50 movie reviews here, and despite seeing some stinkers, I still never felt the need to drop the 1-star bomb for any of them. This has the dubious honor of being the first to get it. Don’t waste your time and watch it expecting either a good comedy or a so-bad-it’s-good movie. I saw several people get up and leave in the theater as the movie went on. If I didn’t feel obligated to see the whole thing for this reviews’ sake, I would have been one of them.