Movie Review: Movie 43Posted: January 29, 2013
The problem with sketch comedy is that by it’s very nature it’s hit and miss, it’s impossible for every section to be of the same consistently high standard, and this movie which is a collection of shorts has the same problem.
The wrap around narrative for the film follows two stoners attempting to distract one of their brainiac younger brother by telling him to search for this mythical Movie 43, said to be the most controversial and shocking film ever made. Their plan is to sabotage his laptop while he is busy looking for something that doesn’t exist on their computer, but is it really a myth or have they accidentally began searching for something real? Apparently in the US version the wraparound is different, and features a crazed screenwriter pitching ideas for different movies, which is neater but I kinda liked the stupid surrealism of the UK version.
The film then jumps through various shorts that they watch, a collection of skits and gags featuring a star studded cast. There’s a woman set up on a blind date with a man who seems perfect but then reveals a distracting flaw, a woman who makes an unusual request to her husband, a problem with the new music system that looks like an attractive nude woman, another blind date where the pair’s game of truth or dare quickly spirals out of control and a few other ideas.
Some of the movie really works and had me laughing out loud, with a few of the shorts being built around quite interesting ideas. My particular favourites were an incredibly uncomfortable segment about two parents (Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts) who homeschool their teenage son and attempt to mimic the high school experience as much as possible including bullying and the awkward first steps of emerging sexuality. It’s an interesting idea and it’s handled extremely well by the fact that Schreiber and Watts, neither known for their comedic skills do a great job of underplaying it which heightens the ridiculousness and awkwardness, and their aided by Jeremy Allen White, who plays their son in a deadpan way with a real air of defeat around him.
Other sections I liked included a teenage girl played by Chloe Grace Moretz who experiences her first period in a house surrounded by clueless and oafish male characters, which I really dug as it traded off of their ignorance and the embarrassment of the scene. Or a hapless Robin (Justin Long) attempting to be speed date while being undermined by a boorish Batman (Jason Sudeikis), which raised a few chuckles. And despite essentially building up to a cheesy punchline I must admit a section involving two friends played by Johnny Knoxville and Sean William Scott dealing with a foul mouthed and violent leprechaun (Gerard Butler), did make me chuckle a bit due to it’s sheer stupidity.
But for everyone that worked there was one that fell flat or was only half successful. Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman struggle through a painfully stupid and simplistic skit, while I felt kinda sorry for Anna Faris and Chris Pratt, two skilled comic actors who wind up saddled with a moronic gross out section which spectacularly fails to deliver.
Far too frequently some of the skits devolve into gross out humour or attempts to shock, and there’s a real juvenile feel to the proceedings. There are a few minor laughs in most sketches but there are periods where it drags and it never hits a higher gear and really blows you away at all.
The starry cast actually works against the movie when you’re watching. It might have got bums on seats, but those bums will probably emerge feeling slightly disappointed that such an amazing collection of performers was squandered on such a flawed flick. Performers like Emma Stone, Stephen Merchant and Christopher Mintz-Plasse all do their roles admirably and are entertaining enough but you’re left with the distinct feeling that they’re capable of so much more.
All in all, rather disappointing showing with the misses outnumbering the hits.
Verdict: There are a handful of big laughs but for the most part the movie is only fleetingly amusing and far too much of it resorts to cheap gags. A great cast feels wasted in a movie which while an interesting idea, ultimately fails to deliver. 4/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.