You know, I’ve seen plenty of movies where the only funny parts were planted in the trailer. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen one where actually watching the movie itself sucks the funny right out of the trailer. That is until now anyway.
I’m going to do my best to stay constructive here, but there’s only so much I can do. In fact, the only reason I didn’t give Movie 43 a straight up zero is because I still want to believe that there’s some mystical film out there that can lower the bar even further. Kind of like how you know that unicorns don’t exist but you still want to think that they’re a possibility. You just keep chasing after every pointy headed horse hoping one day you’ll find one…
So anyway, constructive… hmmm… well let’s start with exactly what Movie 43 is because the trailer doesn’t really explain anything. In fact, I’m pretty sure it tries to add plot that isn’t there. Movie 43 is a loosely fitted collection of shorts. The kind of sketch comedy that’s so terrible it would almost surely get cut from the last half hour of Saturday Night Live (which can still have a gem or two hidden in those waning final minutes).
And why is the movie named Movie 43? I still have no idea. There’s an attempt to piece all of the different segments together with haphazard framing device involving Dennis Quaid’s character pitching a movie, but even that ends up falling apart pretty fast, and it definitely doesn’t explain the title. My best guess is that by giving it a name that describes nothing, people might mistakingly be intrigued. You were warned.
Now I know what you’re thinking… “but Brian, there’s like a ridiculous amount of talent in this movie. How could a film with the likes of Kate Winslet/Emma Stone/Hugh Jackman/Terrence Howard/Naomi Watts/Anna Faris/Jason Sudeikis be that bad? He/she is one of my favourite actors/actresses. Surely you’re exaggerating.” Oh you fool. I once thought as you did. And I promise, every bit of their talent is squandered. Every bit. Bogged down in a mountain of poorly constructed poop jokes and painfully unfunny sight gags.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a comedy snob or anything. But the film does sort of exude that I-was-written-in-crayon vibe. There are nine-year-olds who would feel too mature for some of these jokes. The problem is none of the comedy is grounded in anything. The twists get crazier and crazier and the jokes stupider and stupider until you don’t even feel like you’re watching comedy anymore. Just some sort of sad collection of clips from movies wise development executives were smart enough not to make.
There are of course moments when Movie 43 approaches something close to watchable. There’s an okay superhero parody that some fans may like and Terrence Howard has a decent sketch (all of which you saw in the trailer). But even these end up being dragged down by their own stupidity. When it finds a good joke Movie 43 manages to squander it by repeating it until it’s no longer funny.
The film does have one moment of clarity though. Towards the end, when it becomes a movie within a movie within a movie (you can’t make this stuff up), it seems to acknowledge, albeit jokingly, how obscenely pointless it really is. It’s just too bad the filmmakers didn’t realize that before they started shooting.