'Movie 43' Review: Morally Repugnant Comedy Swims in Gutter
There’s an old argument that the release of a tasteless film a few weeks before the Oscars can dramatically damage a nominee’s chances of winning.
The best example of this occurred when the comedy Norbit hit theaters in 2007-- a few short weeks before the Academy Awards. Eddie Murphy—the easy frontrunner for best supporting actor for his performance in Dreamgirls (2006)—was left empty-handed Oscar night and many blamed Norbit for turning the academy against the comedian.
If that theory is correct, and Murphy was punished for his poor choice of roles, then Naomi Watts and Hugh Jackman should definitely be worried that the new film Movie 43—a dismal and disgusting comedy—features those Oscar nominees acting like unrepentant fools.
Fortunately for them, the movie is composed of a dozen short “comedic” skits featuring many other prominent actors and actresses damaging their brands. So no one actor or actress can be blamed for this 90-minute monstrosity posing as an actual comedy.
The film’s first skit-- which is returned to several times during the proceedings--sets the stage for the story. Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid) sits in a studio office pitching film ideas to an executive named Griffin Schraeder (Greg Kinnear). Wessler’s idea, he states, is “a movie that is about something but it can also be commercial.” He then proceeds to describe the bizarre concepts in his pitch.
The first one—featuring Jackman and Oscar winner Kate Winslet—focuses on a first date between the two young business people. The joke is that a sexual organ is openly hanging down from Jackman’s chin. Winslet’s character is the only one who notices the oddity and the entire skit revolves around her trying to get others to notice it. If that segment sounds harmless, the second skit will prove that the film is more than just disgusting. It’s downright infantile. In segment number two, Watts and Liev Schreiber star as parents who home-school their poor son, Kevin, but want him to experience the full effect of high school.
To get that effect, his parents act like every student their son could possibly encounter. Kevin’s father walks into the shower and mocks his son’s privates and later strips him and ties him up in the front yard. Kevin’s mother rejects her son when he tries to attend a party at his own house and then later spends her time kissing him and getting him to first base.
It’s no wonder that their son grows up to have problems.
From there, the film finds a variety of ways to swim in the gutter. From a woman who wants her boyfriend to defecate on him to a friend who kidnaps a leprechaun to make amends with his best buddy, Movie 43 complacently attempts to mix comedy with crassness but omits the comedy from the equation.
Ultimately, Movie 43 won’t be remembered for its comedic value—because it offers so little. It will be remembered as a minor blight on the careers of the current and the future A-listers who chose to participate in this aberration of a motion picture.
Movie 43 is the greatest waste of A-list talent since Garry Marshall made his last film. It’s a must miss and one of the worst movies of the new year.