Monday, January 28, 2013

When Good a Trailer Makes a Terrible Movie: Our Review of "Movie 43" (2013)

Andrew: Hello readers! Sorry we've been away for a bit again, still been a bit busy with the day jobs, but we WERE able to catch a showing of this past weekend's unheralded new sketch comedy movie, Movie 43, and we're here to give you our review of it! (Duh.) Movie 43 stars a TON of big-name actors and there were about ten different directors involved all taking a different sketch. But due to the low-brow humor of the film, and apparently general distaste the studio has for it, almost everyone involved is trying to distance themselves from the movie (check out this humorous New York Post story about it to see what we mean). 

Now, because of the structure of the film, we're going to be doing our review just a touch differently than normal. Instead of doing a free-flowing conversation, we're going to break up the review by talking about each individual sketch on its own - starting with a brief description of the sketch and what we liked about it, what we didn't like about it, etc. With that said, in order of how they appeared in the film, here are our thoughts on Movie 43.

Stars: Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman
Premise: Winslet plays a woman going on a blind date with a man who by all accounts is handsome, wealthy and incredibly popular, so it comes as a shock to her when they get to the restaurant and he takes off his scarf, that he has a pair of testicles hanging from his chin and no one else seems to find it unusual.

Sarah: Yea, this one actually made me very uncomfortable. Besides being slightly disgusting, this little sketch was hilarious! Having such a beautiful man like Hugh Jackman with a pair hanging from his neck was disturbing on so many levels. What bothered me the most was the fact that NOONE seemed to know!!! It's ridiculous! 

A: There are plenty of sketches in the movie that are over-the-top ridiculous, but I felt that this was a good one to kick things off. The sight gag of the male genitalia dangling from Jackman's face and the complete obliviousness by everyone other than Winslet was pretty funny. And they use the sight gag to its full effect, with the part where an air duct blowing cold air on their table taking the cake. But the sketch wouldn't have been anything if it weren't for Winslet's reactions.

Stars: Naomi Watts, Liev Schrieber, Jeremy Allen White (Shameless)
Premise: Real-life couple Watts and Schrieber play parents hosting their new neighbors and explaining to them how they homeschool their son, Kevin, but still try and give him the most realistic high school experience they can by bullying him, not inviting him to parties in his own house and by each making moves on him.

S: This one was MESSED up! The way that Watts and Schrieber torture their son is just awful! It was so akward and twisted. The way they try and give their son "experiences" is about as bad as it gets. Everything from being shunned from a party in his own house by his own mother pretending to be the popular girl from school, to a weird homosexual experience with his father and it just went down from there. I had a hard time watching this one actually. It was so awful! I just. Don't know what to say...

A: This sketch was actually probably my least favorite of the entire movie. All of the best parts from this sketch are in the red-band trailer, and everything else really just isn't funny. Like you said, Sarah, it's uncomfortable pretty much the entire time and only a couple times did I snicker because it was SO uncomfortable (the parts where Kevin's parents come on to him being those parts). Love the way the actors went all in, but this was a funny idea that wasn't executed tightly enough.

Stars: Chris Pratt, Anna Faris, J.B. Smoove
Premise: Jason and Vanessa (real-life spouses Pratt and Faris) go for a picnic where Jason plans to pop the question, but Vanessa beats him to the punch with an even weirder sexual request involving a bowel movement. Jason's friend Larry (Smoove) convinces him it's a huge romantic experience and to eat Mexican food with a chaser of Turbolax to make it a night to remember. You see where this is going.

We seemed to be making the same face Chris Pratt is making here during his sketch. That said, we thought it
was one of the funnier sketches in the film.

S: This one was pretty funny, I have to admit. I love that Anna Faris and Chris Pratt are actually married and did this sketch together. I mean, yes, it was kinda gross but was filled with typical Faris humor. It was like the only sketch that didn't seem so completely random. The chemistry between them is genuine and it shows. Didn't you think it was the most believable of humorous sketch?

A: It's completely believable until the punchline at the end of the sketch, which was completely over the top but hilarious. I agree though, the fact that Pratt and Faris are an actual couple certainly helps the chemistry in this sketch (just like the best thing about the Homeschooling sketch was Watts and Schrieber's chemistry). I love Pratt and Faris individually and think they make a cute couple, but my favorite part was Pratt's faces while trying to hold it all in after eating the Mexican food and the Turbolax, because I think we ALL know that feeling from time to time. Certainly one of the strongest in the movie.

Stars: Emma Stone and Kieren Culkin
Premise: Veronica (Stone) shows up at the grocery store Neil (Culkin) works at and based off a previous romantic encounter they proceed to volley insults and romantic quips between each other.

A: This sketch was by far the most disappointing in the film for me because we love Emma Stone and she's completely wasted here. Her best line was used in the red-band trailer, but the rest of this sketch just isn't funny, it's just awkward for all sorts of reasons.

S: I agree. Awkward was an understatement. Kieren Culkin is uber creepy and Emma Stone does a almost Clare Danes-like crying face that is just awful. When it was over I was like, "thank god!" Throw in all the old people that were in the grocery store and it just needed to stop! It was supposed to be all about the sexual tension between the two of them and it just fell flat. Noone is going to believe that someone like Culkin (sorry man) could get a gal like Stone. 

Stars: Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Kristin Bell, Bobby Cannavale, John Hodgman, Leslie Bibb, Katrina Bowden
Premise: Robin (Long) is going on some speed-dates when Batman (Sudeikis) shows up after a bomb threat came in, and Batman proceeds to ruin his night, with cameos by Lois Lane (Thurman), Supergirl (Bell), Superman (Cannavale), Wonder Woman (Bibb), The Penguin (Hodgman) and The Riddler.

S: This one actually had some promise! Great actors, funny premise, but then it fell flat when the humor just wasn't quite there. John Hodgman wasn't really that great and then the twist with the Riddler was kinda gross and unimportant. I think you can kinda see that as a whole a lot of these sketches weren't very good. They had so much promise! That's what I can't say enough!

A: By far this one had the most promise because it had the most talent involved. There are some funny gags like Lois Lane not recognizing or remembering Robin, or what Superman really uses in his hair gel, but overall this one runs far too long and you start to hope it just ends so they can move on. Everyone is game, which is nice, but I felt sorry for Long even though I know he and Hodgman were reprising some roles they've played in online videos.

Stars: No one famous
Premise: A sketch presented as a PSA of sorts about how we should all treat machines like paper copiers, vending machines and ATM's a little nicer instead of kicking them when we're frustrated. Why? Because the machines actually have little kids inside them that make them run.

S: This was the funniest part of the whole movie! There were actually a couple of "commercials" that just really were creative. The kids in the machines were awesome. The tears streaming down the little children's faces while they tray and feed paper through the copiers or hold the money in the ATM were just the cherries on top. 

A: Absolutely one of the funniest parts of the entire film. It's absurdity is one of the best parts of it, but I particularly loved the black and white and slow-motion they use. The tagline at the end with the dead serious voice-over is killer, too. It's too bad there weren't more sketches like this in the movie.

Stars: Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Jack McBrayer and Aasif Mandvi
Premise: Gere plays an executive of a company that produces a music player called the iBabe, essentially an iPod that's a full-grown and nude woman, and his underlings are trying to explain to him that boys are having their private parts mangled by the cooling fan that resides in the iBabe' know...and he doesn't quite why they would stick anything in there.

S: I hated this sketch. I think that it was vulgar and absolutely unnecessary. Jack McBrayer could have been so much funnier and Gere was just flat on the screen. It was disappointing and a lot gross. I just don't understand why they would agree to do a sketch that was so sexist and ridiculous! 

A: I won't go so far as to say it was sexist, but it's definitely the one sketch in the whole movie that uses blatant nudity for the sake of nudity. It's a one-joke sketch that, unlike "The Catch," completely falls flat and just isn't funny. (It's also pretty outdated with the way iPods have been designed for the past few years now.)

Stars: Chloe Grace Moretz, Jimmy Bennett, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Patrick Warbuton and Matt Walsh
Premise: Nathan and Amanda (Bennett and Moretz) are hanging out at Nathan's house, making out, when it becomes apparent that Amanda is having her first period. Cue the freaking out by all involved include Nathan's brother (Mintz-Plasse) and his dad (Warburton).

One of the film's many one-joke sketches, this one starring Chloe Grace Moretz, but the
reactions by Jimmy Bennett (left) make up for it.

S: OK this was funny purely because of Jimmy Bennett freaking out that his friend is dying! It was hilarious! And it was the perfect example of how men react to all things female. I felt so bad for Amanda as she was obviously mortified and all these silly boys would do is freak out and call 911 or search for something to "stop her up." This was one of the funnier sketches and although it was awkward it all worked out in the end.

A: Hands down one of the funnier sketches, and you're right, Bennett's reactions were the best part, as were Moretz's horrified looks. Patrick Warburton as the oblivious dad was pretty amazing as well. This was one of the few sketches that actually had a one-note joke but was able to spin it in a few different ways to get the desired laughs. It doesn't run too long and it's not too short, though it does come to a rather abrupt end.

Stars: Sean William Scott, Johnny Knoxville and Gerard Butler
Premise: Pete and Brian (Knoxville and Scott) are roommates, and to make it up to Brian for breaking a the bro code, Pete kidnaps a foul-mouthed leprechaun (Butler) to try and get his gold so they can be rich, but they end up getting more than they bargained for.

S: This one was just not good. Not so much funny as just violent and vulgar. I don't think that Gerard Butler was funny at all and I the others were just stupid and ridiculous. The little leprechauns seem to have a fascination with testicles and they are extremely angry about everything. I wasn't impressed. And poor Sean William Scott looked like he had been stung by a bee! (aka he was fat)

A: Violent and vulgar...perfectly said. There's really not much worthy about this sketch as it kind of drags on, and it's really not worth watching all the buildup the to (admittedly funny) payoff about a fairy that Pete also kidnapped for Brian.

Stars: Halle Berry and Stephen Marchant
Premise: Emily and Donald (Berry and Marchant) are out on a blind-date and decide to skip the usual pleasantries and chit-chat and instead play a no-holds barred game of Truth or Date.

S: Holy crap there were a LOT of sketches! This started out funny but as so many of the other sketches it lost it's luster about half way through. It also had the funniest parts given away in the red-band trailer. Super lame. C'mon Halle! You coulda been something!

A: Much like all the other sketches, the best parts are ruined by being in the trailer, but I was entertained by how game Berry and Merchant were in this skit. Some of the things they dare each other to do are pretty funny, but then it gets ridiculously over-the-top and it sputters down the stretch. Plus, it gets just a BIT too racist by the end. Still, well played Berry and Merchant. Well played.

Stars: Terrence Howard
Premise: A send up of movie's like Glory Road, where an all-black basketball team is going to face the technically sound all-white team from across town, and their coach (Howard) pumps them up by simply explaining that their skin color gives them an inherent advantage.

Terrence Howard stars in a funny sketch that feels straight out of Chappelle's Show, it's just too bad
it's the last sketch and most of the jokes are in the trailer.

S: This one was funny but too much was given away in the red-band trailer, so when it got to this sketch I felt like there wasn't anything new that I hadn't already seen. I was disappointed by that. It was funny, though. It still made me chuckle. The fact that Terrence Howard couldn't quite get it through to his team WHY they would win was a little silly.

A: Completely agree that too much was given away in the trailer. I was waiting for this sketch all movie long because I thought the premise was pretty funny, but too much was definitely given away. Howard is hilarious because of his incredulousness and his team's reactions to what he's trying to say is silly, but yeah...there wasn't a whole lot left when it finally came around and then it ran too long.

Stars: Elizabeth Banks and Josh Duhamel
Premise: Anson (Duhamel) wants to take his relationship with Amy (Banks) up to the next level by having her move in, but Anson's demonic, crude animated cat, Beezel, does everything he can to thwart that plan.

S: I was NOT a fan of this one. I was incredibly uncomfortable pretty much the whole time, and the cat was very annoying. And it was animated! I know they were trying to do something funny by having it be animated but...I don't know, I just don't think the translation worked. Beezel the cat was INCREDIBLY sexual for being a cartoon cat and I had a bit of a hard time buying Banks and Duhamel's performance with the animated character.

A: I didn't remember this one from the trailer whatsoever, so I was caught off guard when this one started playing during/after the credits rolled. I get the idea of the animated cat being so filthy and being in love with his owner and wanting to get rid of Amy in any way possible, but it just wasn't funny to me. Sure, a sight gag here or there got a chuckle out of me, but that was more because of the absurdity of it all. Bottom line with this one is if you see this film at all, stop the movie before the credits roll.

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Common, Seth McFarlane and Will Sasso
Premise: Used as the frame narrative for the rest of the film, an aspiring director, Charlie (Quaid), tries to pitch a movie to a studio executive, Griffin (Kinnear), by pitching him increasingly absurd and desperate story ideas.

S: My favorite part of this sketch was Seth McFarlane and he was only in it for a hot second. But I felt like it was more incredibly embarassing for Dennis Quaid than anything else. I felt embarrassed FOR him, and you really shouldn't be embarrassed for an actor. The sketch had it's funny moments, but it was more sad than anything else. All it basically did was semi-introduce each sketch, but even then it didn't really do much to help that along. 

A: Definitely embarrassing for Quaid (what was with that haircut???) but I thought Kinnear was quite game, as was Common, and Will Sasso was funny in his short stint as a movie lot security guard. The best part of this sketch was that when it finally ended it turns meta and we see that it's actually Quaid and Kinnear and company playing themselves playing these roles and that they're actually embarrassed by the quality of the stuff they're shooting.

S: Oh yeah! Yeah, I liked when Kinnear says to the director...

A: Peter Farrelly...

S: I like when he says to him something like, "You know these are a bunch of shorts, right? Why don't we just cut this scene here and show one of them?" I'm not going to lie though...this movie was the first time where I actually considered getting up and walking out of the theatre. Some of the stuff was SO offensive or disgusting that I thought, "Why am I wasting brain cells watching this?" And it takes a lot for me to consider getting up out of a movie.

A: Fair enough! There were definitely excruciating moments in it, but I'm glad we saw it just to see if there were any hidden gems in there. And there was with the Machine Kids sketch.

S: I did find myself wondering, "How many more shorts can there be?" And started ticking off ones that I remembered from the trailer.

A: So then final thoughts on Movie 43?

S: I wouldn't waste my time with it at all. Just watch the red-band trailer and enjoy the best jokes in a condensed three minutes.


(Individual Scores - S: 1/5  A: 1/5)

Photo Courtesies: Entertainment Weekly,

1 comment:

  1. Pretty much a terrible piece of "entertainment" from start to finish. Everybody feels like they are trying way too hard and it's Terrence Howard who seems like he comes-out alive and well. Problem is, his jokes were all in the trailer so by the end, it almost doesn't matter. Good review.