(R and Unrated)
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5)
Dennis Quaid as CHARLIE WESSLER
Greg Kinnear as GRIFFIN SCHRAEDER
Common as BOB MONE
Charlie Saxton as JAY
Will Sasso as JERRY
Odessa Rae as DANITA
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Bob Odenkirk, Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg, Will Graham, James Gunn, Brett Ratner, Jonathan van Tulleken
BY KEVIN CARR
Earlier this year, “Movie 43” was such a notorious film because it got such terrible reviews and was quickly placed on multiple “Worst Movies of All Time” lists. The hubbub that resulted made me at least curious to see it. After all, could it be that bad?
And answer: It really isn’t.
That’s not to say that “Movie 43” is a brilliant piece of filmmaking. In essence, it’s an ensemble sketch comedy piece. Featuring more than a dozen short films, many which have pervasive crass content, “Movie 43” was an experiment. (And some might say the experiment worked, in spite of the dismal reviews. The movie did gross five times it’s budget of $6 million, and that seems like a win in my book.)
Anthology movies have come and gone over the years, often finding a home in the horror genre (as it did in the early 80s with “Creepshow” and “The Twilight Zone: The Movie,” and again today with films like “V/H/S” and “The ABCs of Death”). Occasional comedy successes have come with movies like “The Kentucky Fried Movie,” “The Groove Tube” and “Amazon Women on the Moon.” Still, this format has never really taken off in the mainstream.
But back to “Movie 43.” It’s got some clever sketches, though to really enjoy them, one must have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy. Fortunately, I do. Various moments of humor include a man who has testicles on his neck, a woman who wants her boyfriend to poop on her in order to show his love, and a girl who gets her period on a date with boys who have no idea how to cope with that.
Probably the most impressive thing about “Movie 43” is the massive cast of relatively big-name actors in it. Sure, there are some C-listers on the box (like Bobby Cannavale), but there are plenty of A-listers as well (including Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Kate Winslet). According to reports from the production, this massive cast was assembled when people’s schedules allowed, forcing the film to be shot over the course of years rather than months.
The film also boasts a massive list of directors – some of them pretty impressive in their own right. And while many of these sketches can be unfunny and overly gross, it’s impressive to see such big names in Hollywood get behind a movie of its kind.
So don’t watch “Movie 43” and expect something great, ‘cause you won’t get it. But if you appreciate a bit of schoolyard humor and can handle some lame sketches to balance out the ones you do find funny (of which my personal favorites are “The Catch” with Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman, “The Proposition” with Anna Faris and Chris Pratt and “Truth or Dare” starring Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant).
One slight bonus to the Blu-ray is that it features two versions of the film. The U.S. theatrical version features a wrap-around story called “The Pitch,” directed by Peter Farrelly and starring Dennis Quaid and Greg Kinnear. The movie is also available with the “Alternative Version,” which was released in some other countries like the U.K. and the Netherlands, featuring teenagers searching for a movie on the internet that would end civilization.
I would have expected more from the bonus features of a film that has such an ensemble cast and sequence of short film. At the very least, I had hoped for some deleted or extended scenes. Unfortunately, the only special feature include the trailers for the theatrical cut and the alternative cut. There’s also a single deleted short called “Find Our Daughter.” While not terribly funny, at least it features a glorious set of breasts. It’s not a total loss, then.