“Movie 43” is a series of comedy shorts that waver between the supremely offensive and over-the-top silliness. Cinematic history says there is humor to be had in both realms, but this particular collection can’t seem to muster more than mild amusement for much of its runtime. Each segment brings a different director too, so the comedic arc swings wildly. With all that movement going on, it’s easier to miss the target, and “Movie 43” does that quite a bit.
This reviewer’s favorite of the 90-minute hodgepodge would have to be the one featuring Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Patrick Warburton. Moretz plays a middle-schooler who is at her boyfriend’s house when she gets her first period. Being surrounded by all men, the scene quickly turns into one from a horror movie, but only because of the male response to such an event. The short comes from a place of honesty, which makes it that much funnier. Fans of Jason Sudekis will enjoy his turn as a crude Batman in “Superhero Speed Dating.” Something about his delivery during the segment had this reviewer chuckling throughout.
Unfortunately, some of the segments offer very few laughs, or none at all. The biggest disappointment(by far) is the one featuring Gerald Butler as a Leprechaun captured by buddies Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville. Thankfully the segment is brief, because it offers no reason to laugh, and features nothing but a lot of blood and constant vulgarity. The real wonder is how anything put to film could feature such three charismatic figures and not generate a laugh out of anything they do. An online dating meet-up turns into a quickly-escalating game of Truth or Dare for Stephen Merchant and Halle Berry(in one of the few segments directed by Peter Farrelly), but nothing that follows tops the offensive hilarity of Berry blowing out the candles on the blind kid’s birthday cake featured in the film’s marketing.
After getting a first taste of “Movie 43” with the film’s trailer late last year, it was easy to anticipate that the film was going to be laugh-out-loud comedy gold. Unfortunately, the reality is a little more disappointing. The viewer might be slightly amused, but in the back of their mind they’ll be wondering when the really funny stuff is going to start. Some jokes will hit with some people, and others won’t, but in the end, the audience will be a lot quieter then they rightfully should. Especially with all the big names on the screen, and with all the talent behind the lens.