Director: Steven Brill, Peter Farrelly, Will Graham, Steve Carr, Griffin Dunne, James Duffy, Jonathan Van Tulleken, Elizabeth Banks, Patrik Forsberg, Brett Ratner, Rusty Cundieff and James Gunn
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Hugh Jackman, Greg Kinnear, Seth MacFarlane, Stephen Merchant, Dennis Quaid, Liev Schreiber, Emma Stone, Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet.
Runtime: 1 hr 37 mins
Rating: R21 (Crude Sexual Humour)
Released By: Golden Village
Official Website: www.facebook.com/WhatIsMovie43
Opening Day: 21 February 2013
Synopsis: From the twisted minds of producers Peter Farrelly (Hall Pass, Shallow Hal) and Charles Wessler (There's Something About Mary, Dumb & Dumber), comes Movie 43-- the outrageous new ensemble comedy starring some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Movie 43 is not for the easily-offended and contains jaw-dropping, sometimes shockingly disturbing, but always entertaining intertwined storylines you'll have to see to believe.
Peter Farrelly must really have a lot of street cred in Hollywood, or he must have pulled one hell of an elaborate ruse, in order to assemble such an awesome array of talent for this hodgepodge of comic shorts bound by the thinnest of premises. Almost as if it were daring each one of its A-list cast members to see just how low they dare to go, you’ll need to see this in precisely the same perspective – i.e. as an experiment of cheap scatological humour aimed at the lowest denominator – in order to appreciate what it accomplishes.
Providing the glue for the otherwise disconnected vignettes is a desperate out-of-work screenwriter (Dennis Quaid) making his pitch to a veteran producer (Greg Kinnear), the latter of whom is supposed to be the only barometer of a normal person’s reaction to the off-colour skits, each one of which tries to outdo the last in politically incorrectness and potential offensiveness. Still, if you know what you’re in for, ‘Movie 43’ does provide some measure of embarrassing entertainment – and we mean embarrassment both for the stars involved in it as well as you, the audience, laughing at it.
Among the collection of 14 shorts, the ones by Peter Farrelly turn out to be the most entertaining. His ‘Catch’ kicks off the series of shorts, in which Kate Winslet plays a single businessman who goes on a blind date with the city’s most eligible bachelor played by Hugh Jackman. The (erm) catch? His testicles are located just below the chin, in plain sight of everyone else, though to her utter horror, no one else in the posh restaurant they meet for dinner seem to notice. Jackman and Winslet play the one-note premise straight for all it’s worth, and much as we hate to admit it, manage to make the gag pretty entertaining.
Ditto for Farrelly’s other short, ‘Truth or Dare’, with Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant playing the game on a blind date at a Mexican restaurant. Needless to say, the stakes get pretty extreme as the game goes on, and we’re talking grotesque plastic surgery that gives Halle the face of a bloated puffer fish and Stephen the look of an Asian. Yet that and Jackman’s dangling neck-scrotum prove to be the milder of the gross-out humour on display here, which is in itself surprising given that the project had initiated from Farrelly’s mind.
In perhaps the most distasteful segment, Will Graham’s ‘Homeschooled’, Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts are parents who go all out to imitate the “emotionally scarring experiences” their home-schooled son would have otherwise gone through – and that includes getting that first kiss on with his mother and having his father come on to him like a gay. Faring no better is Steve Carr’s ‘The Proposition’, where a couple (Chris Pratt and Anna Faris) decide to take their year-old relationship one step further by getting the male to defecate on the female - the act of which is preceded by an equally off-putting conversation where his buddy (J.B. Smoove) urges him to eat Mexican in order to have ‘colourful’ poop.
The rest run the gamut from ho-hum to tired. The former describes Elizabeth Banks’ ‘Middle School Date’ where a bunch of males freak out at a teenage girl’s first period, Griffin Dunne’s ‘Veronica’ where a pair of ex-lovers (Kieran Culkin and Emma Stone) engage in a vulgar verbal sparring session broadcast over a supermarket’s PA system, and James Duffy’s ‘Superhero Speed Dating’ with Robin (Justin Long) trying to score a date while Batman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman defuse a bomb threat; while the latter applies to Brett Ratner’s ‘Happy Birthday’ where two buddies (Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott) torture a leprechaun (Gerard Butler) into giving them a pot of gold, as well as Steven Brill’s ‘iBabe’ where Richard Gere’s CEO has to solve a problem of teenage boys getting their dicks mangled while sticking them into the ‘vagina’ of the company’s product, i.e. a life-sized replica of a nude woman that works as an MP3 player.
And just when you’d think the filmmakers were foolish enough to end the movie on an awful note with Rusty Cundieff’s downright unfunny ‘Victory’s Glory’ -in which Terrence Howard plays a basketball coach in the 150s motivating his all-black team in the locker room to simply believe that their ‘God-given’’ colour will win them their upcoming match against their all-white opponents – they reveal quite simply the best short of the lot. Co-written and directed by James Gunn, ‘Beezel’ plays like a fouler version of Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Ted’, in which a jealous homosexual male animated cat tries to break up his owner’s (Josh Duhamel’) loving relationship with his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks). Mixing live-action with crude hand-drawn animation, ‘Beezel’ is ‘Ted’ without any shred of niceties or humanity, and is a suitably laugh-out-loud short that ends the movie on a raucous high.
Still, when the lights come on, one truly wonders what prompted some of the actors to sign up for this exercise in gross inappropriateness. Producer Charles Wessler and Farrelly’s tenacity could have been one reason – apparently, they took years recruiting the ensemble, and even chased some of them down (e.g. Richard Gere) to where and when they could film. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say most of them probably wouldn’t want this movie listed on their resume; and for the rest of us, ‘Movie 43’ is best seen as an experiment in Hollywood subversion, an exercise to see just how incorrect and offensive Hollywood can get. The only way to appreciate this? Expect nothing and you might enjoy something.
(A bold experiment in politically incorrectness and gross offensiveness, this collection of scatological comic shorts will either tickle you or disgust you completely)
Review by Gabriel Chong