I watched this movie with the intent of liking it. Well, I watch every movie with the intent of liking it. But this one more so because of its reputation (if you are familiar with its title you should be familiar with the press that’s associated with it) and so I thought I’d give myself a challenge. Turns out, it wasn’t much of a challenge, because watching Movie 43 is like taking your parents to an adult movie screening, releasing some sexual frustration in front of them, and then being perplexed as to why they feel so disgustingly uncomfortable (there are actually a couple of narrative threads in this movie that resemble this analogy).
Look at poor old Richard Gere’s face in the picture above. I think that one look says it all, doesn’t it? The look of fear, apprehension, embarrassment, confusion, repulsion. It’s like he’s mirroring the thoughts and feelings of the general public in an attempt to redeem himself from participating in such a tasteless mess. But no, no such luck is with you Mr. Gere. You’ll have to live the rest of your life knowing that you could not escape Movie 43.
I have no right to pick on him though, because almost every single actor, who for whatever reason decided to lend their wonderful talent to this catastrophe, will look back and wish they had massacred the numerous writers and directors involved before the first gigabyte of footage was recorded (yes, Ms. Banks, that means you too). Even while writing this review, trying to put myself in the heads of Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler, or Liev Schreiber is leaving me baffled. What were they hoping would come of this? Fame? Variety? Comedy? God knows. He also knows that none of these words will ever exist in the same airspace as this film.
It opens with two idiots trying to make a name for themselves on YouTube. Oh no, it’s ViewThisTube, not YouTube. Damn copyright. They witness the views of their human dartboard video shoot up into the millions in a matter of clicks. They are overjoyed. Suddenly, they are intercepted (somehow) by a young boy, named Baxter, with rabbit teeth, who confesses that he hacked into their system and faked the view climb. Outraged, the two decide to play their own prank on him. They make a false movie title — cleverly disguised as “Movie 43” — and tell him to search for it in deep internet space while one of the idiots steals his laptop in order to corrupt it with porn viruses. This sounds great already. While searching, Baxter discovers the little vignettes that will form the bulk of the movie. How exciting.
Have you ever seen Transylmania, or 2001: A Space Travesty, or Stan Helsing? If you haven’t, let me just tell you that they are really bad spoofs of other movies. Like really bad. Space Travesty in particular is a hodgepodge of slapstick gags, inspired loosely by classics of the past — including Leslie Nielsen’s own Naked Gun series — that are in no way connected to the plot. There’s a scene where this Italian officer rushes to an alien lavatory only to be excreted on by an alien that poops once a year. Such is its intelligence and maturity. Movie 43, in comparison, makes Space Travesty look like an Academy Award winner. I kid you not.
It is filled to the brim with crude racism, sexism, testicles dangling from necks, disgruntled vulgar leprechauns, incestuous mothers, vagina hickeys, penis-snapping vaginas, Halle Berry pumping super hot chili sauce up her vagina. There’s so much vagina. Oh wait, there’s also a butt story that involves Chris Pratt taking an aromatic dump on his fiancee, Anna Faris, not because he needs to go urgently and there isn’t a toilet in sight, but because she wants him to. And for all of you out there who want the same thing, make sure you say “poop” and not “shit”. All hell will break loose otherwise.
Movie 43 took ages to go into production, and ages to be completed. Evidently its crew had a tough time scheduling the actors. I wonder why. George Clooney instantly declined participation, and our good friend Richard Gere eagerly wanted out. I’m surprised no one else made such an attempt to flee.
There is only one moderately enjoyable story arc: The basketball one. It’s moderately enjoyable because it’s not about sex, or cursing, or feces. It’s about a basketball coach (played quite well by Terrence Howard) pumping up his all-black team for a match against the whites, and he has one key to success. His team will certainly win because they are black, and basketball is a black sport. Nothing else matters. It’s the only time a couple of chuckles exited my mouth (not least because the arc is a stab at basketball, and I hate basketball). And then, the feeble good feeling vanishes, never to return.
At the start of the movie, Baxter is told: “If you can watch it all the way through from the beginning to end, you’re rewarded beyond your wildest dreams” It’s been five hours since I’ve watched this nonsense from beginning to end, and I still don’t have one hundred million dollars.
Best Moment | Howard’s scene with his basketball team.
Worst Moment | Every single goddamn second.