Brief Thoughts: ‘Movie 43’ Is Thankfully Not 43 Sketches Long
Movie 43: 1 ½ out of 5
Donald: See that blind kid over there? I dare you to blow out his candles, before he has a chance to.
Aside from some chuckles here and there, Movie 43 is pretty much an unmitigated disaster for everyone involved, starting with Dennis Quaid (who looks like a meth user, loitering outside of a 7-11) all the way to poor Chloe Moretz, who is straddled with making the funny out of smearing menstrual blood all over a kitchen wall. The film has no real premise; it is just a series of short skits, featuring many big name actors, directed by various “comedy” directors, very thinly connected by one overarching sketch. The skits are all designed to be vulgar, racy, and scatological in terms of their content and they rarely feel anything above lazy and tired. I know comedy is subjective, so if you laugh, good on you, but I love to laugh and this movie…well I’m just glad that there were not in fact 43 sketches.
I will give Movie 43 one praise, Liev Schreiber tends to win me over in anything, so the fact that he brought his wife along (Naomi Watts) for one skit about parents who are homeschooling their child as well as humiliating him to better help him to have a true high school experience was admirable, given that it landed most of its jokes for me. The rest is pretty much a mess, with various chuckles sure, but only in sporadic moments, as some of these sketches are maybe good in concept (superhero speed-dating), but mostly terrible in execution. Imagine you are watching Saturday Night Live, except every sketch has one or two hosts in it, and the sketches fall apart almost instantly, that is pretty much what Movie 43 amounts to.
And just for the sake of it, Movie 43 features films directed by Peter Farrelly, Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Car, Rusty Cundieff, Griffin Dunne, James Gunn, and Brett Ratner. It stars Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Common, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Richard Gere, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Liev Schreiber, Namoi Watts, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Halle Berry, Justin Long, Kristen Bell, Seann William Scott, and Johnny Knoxville, among others. It is a huge cast, the largest ensemble ever, despite not having all of them being involved in the same basic story, but it almost feels like most of them did this as a dare, which is fitting, given the concepts of some of these shorts. The movie is just awful for the most part, making the bits that do work just seem worse by the time it is all over.