Occasionally a film comes along that has a unanimous consensus. Either for being good or bad. Last year it was Jack and Jill, and this year it’s Movie 43. The reaction for this film has been so negative it was quite a curiosity to me. I felt I had to see it after people were calling it the worst film ever made. I decided to go in with an open mind. I did a little research and found production for this film took place over four years, starting up and shutting down several times. It was produced and directed by Peter Farrelly of the Farrelly Brothers, once the kings of gross out humour. Needless to say, I was cautious, but often when films are so widely attacked and have such an extreme reaction I find it’s not as bad as people say. So, with that mindset, I went in and saw Movie 43. Boy, was that a mistake.
The plot of Movie 43 is different in the UK than in the US. In the US version, the overall framing device is a pitch, where a mad screenwriter, played by Dennis Quaid, is trying to sell a film. In the UK version, the one I saw, a group of teenagers search the internet for ‘movie 43’, the most banned film in the world. Why this is I have no idea, but hey, our version is four minutes shorter, so I’m not complaining.
Movie 43 is based around several gross out comedy vignettes, each done by a different writer and director. I suppose the point of it is to be as shocking and disgusting as possible. However, given the fact we’ve already had movies that sell themselves on being gross, Movie 43 comes off as hopelessly quaint. When the taglines are things like ‘comedy exposed’ and ‘the most outrageous film ever’, it’s just a case of trying way too hard for their own good. And that’s the essence of what makes Movie 43 fail. They’re just trying too hard. Look! We have a naked woman as an MP3 player! Look! Hugh Jackman has testicles on his neck and no one notices! Laugh at us please! It’s all so crude and tasteless that it just becomes exhausting.
What made these actors sign on I really do have no idea, because if nothing else, it boasts an impressive cast. These include (hold your breath), Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Kieran Culkin, Emma Stone, Richard Gere, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell, Chloe Grace Mortez, Gerard Butler, Sean William Scott, Johnny Knoxville (funnily enough extracting the only laugh in the entire film, and that was in the bloopers), Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant, Terrence Howard, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel and Snooki, and those I the ones I can think of now. They all give bad performances except a couple, which includes Terrence Howard as a basketball coach, and Johnny Knoxville just being Johnny Knoxville, which is funny on it’s own.
During the film, I was thinking, well, yeah, this is bad, but it’s not as bad as people are saying. That was around the 45 minute mark. Then the sudden relisation struck me that I was only half way through. What little enjoyment there was was sucked out when I discovered this film has some of the worst pacing I’ve ever seen. What was left was depression. This film depressed me. To coin a new phrase, this film is too bad to hate. It’s not funny, it’s tasteless, it confuses sex references to sex jokes, and you just know your film is bad when your one funny scene is in the bloopers. People have said this is the worst film ever, and while it isn’t my most hated film, it is the worst film I have ever seen in my life from a writing and directing standpoint. Films like The Room and Birdemic are incompetently made, but made by people with a vision. What was the vision for this film? The do the most crude film to ever hit the silver screen? That’s not a vision, that’s a marketing ploy.
Peter Farrelly responded to critics on Twitter, saying in one tweet, ‘To the critics: Movie 43 is not the end of the world. It’s just a $6-million movie where we tried to do something different. Now back off.’. He then said in another, ‘To the critics: You always complain that Hollywood never gives you new stuff, and then when you get it, you flip out. Lighten up.’ I would like to say, Peter, critics are asking for something new, but it’s not enough for it to be new, it also has to be good. And when your supposed comedy leaves me feeling depressed, I can say it’s failed on that front. I just feel sad about this movie. Sad that all these talented actors agreed to be in this. Sad that I actually liked one of the Farrelly Bros. movies (Shallow Hal). Sad that this got the green light in the first place. Sad that I thought it might actually be good. And very sad that its already made back over double its budget.