Anthology movies are nothing new in the movie business. From the brilliant New York Stories to last year’s bloody horror compilation V/H/S, anthologies are rare, but certainly not uncommon.
Movie 43 is far from the typical anthology movie. Unlike films like New York, I Love You, where the shorts are tied by one unifying theme, Movie 43‘s shorts are intertwining, where the 12 bizarre segments make up one strange tale that pushes the limits of decency and sanity. While the film is certainly tasteless and maddening, it’s hard to deny it is also hilarious.
The film starts off with Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid) pitching the worst movie idea in the world to studio executive Griffin Shraeder (Greg Kinnear), while we see the film play out in the different segments: a smart sexy businesswoman (Kate Winslet) on a blind date with a famous bachelor (Hugh Jackman), who has an unsightly physical deformity; a young couple (Anna Farris and Chris Pratt) redefine the term “indecent proposal”; a husband (Liev Schreiber) and wife (Naomi Watts) describe how they home-school their son (Austin Cope) in a very different sort of way; the madness ensues when Batman (Jason Sudeikis) and Robin (Justin Long) go speed dating in Gotham City; the romance that sparks between a young grocery clerk (Kieran Culkin) and the girl of his dreams (Emma Stone); how a business executive (Richard Gere) deals with an unexpected defect in his product; a middle school girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) enters the realm of womanhood as her naive boyfriend (Jimmy Bennett) and his stupid brother (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) try to ineptly help her in her time of need; a basketball coach (Terrance Howard) gives an unusual pep talk to his team; a crazy manchild (Johnny Knoxville) gives his friend (Seann William Scott) the birthday present of a life time: a leprechaun (Gerard Butler); a couple (Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant) play a game of Truth or Dare that quickly gets out of hand; and man (Josh Duhamel) is faced with a hard choice: keep the woman he loves (Elizabeth Banks) or keep the strange cartoon cat named Beezel, who has a crush on his owner — all the while, cutting back to Charlie and Griffin as the pitch gets stranger and stranger.
With a lineup of writers and directors, such as Bobby and Peter Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber), James Gunn (the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy), Griffin Dunne (The Accidental Husband), and Brett Ratner (Rush Hour), and cast that also features the likes of Seth MacFarlane, Kristen Bell, Uma Thurman, Jack McBrayer and Kate Bosworth, Movie 43 is truly a unique cinematic experience that is often hard to watch, but impossible not to laugh at. Much like the beloved Hangover franchise, the film goes from outrageous to obscene with moments of inexplicable genius peppered in, and, if you’re able to stomach the toilet humor, you will surely be entertained.
FINAL VERDICT: Movie 43 is not for the faint of heart, and if intellectual humor is more your speed, then it’s best you seek it from another source. However, if you’re a fan of Family Guy and The Hangover, you will certainly be at home here. There are times that the movie takes things a bit too far, sure, but what makes it fun is seeing how everything plays out, and what strange directions they take it. While you may be asking how such amazing actors could be convinced to do a movie like this the entire time, you’ll find yourself talking about it at great length to your friends later.