Less an actual feature film and more of a collection of ‘comedic’ sketches with various directors, Movie 43 boasts a cast full of award winning actors and hugely recognizable faces in outrageous situations. The marketing department didn’t want anything to do with its release, and a very small number of the people involved were willing to perform press interviews; it was like no one wanted anything to do with the film. And it’s painfully clear to see why: Movie 43 is one of the weakest excuses for entertainment ever conceived.
There is a flimsy and wafer thin narrative that is solely used to try and justify the existence of this mess. It sees two teenage boys and a young computer hacker attempting to find the most vulgar, offensive and downright sickening video on the internet. Their quest leads them to a legend known only as ‘Movie 43’, a video so elusive and rare, that if it’s viewed it would destroy mankind as we know it.
Each skit features a number of famous faces, so don’t let the poster mislead you: they don’t all share scenes together. The opening sketch sets the bar incredibly low, a standard the rest of the film never leaps over. Here’s just a few of the ‘hilarious’ set ups: Kate Winslet meets Hugh Jackman for a date, but there’s something severely wrong with his neck. Anna Faris makes a proposal to her boyfriend Chris Pratt, but it’s not one of the marrying kind. And in Johnny Knoxville’s segment, he captures a foul mouthed Leprechaun (Gerard Butler) for his best friend Sean William Scott’s birthday. It’s not that the ideas aren’t there, they just simply aren’t funny. The humour is wholly unoriginal, with it more often than not spiraling to the depths of jokes about genitalia, excrement and vomit. In its attempt to offend, even incest isn’t off the menu. In places, it’s uncomfortable to watch: are we supposed to find a 13 year old girls first period funny?
The sketches aside, the talent involved do, for some unknown reason, give it their all. Unfortunately, many of them don’t have the gift of comedy, so instantly the sketch falls flat. It’s no surprise then that Knoxville’s and William Scott’s Leprechaun dilemma is one of two segments that almost raises a smile. It’s material that you’d expect from the duo, but as for others (Richard Gere, Halle Berry, the aforementioned Jackman) it’s an absolute mystery as to why they participated. If there’s an emotion that surpasses ‘cringe-worthy’, Movie 43 achieves it.
That’s all there is to say about it really: the comedy doesn’t work, the sketches are tasteless and uninspiring and all the cast should all be ashamed of themselves. It’s not piracy that’s (apparently) killing the cinema industry: it’s brain matter melting garbage like Movie 43.