Movie 43 is an anthology comedy film with an odd framing device. A man walks into a film studio and demands to have his pitch for a new film heard. The studio executive agrees, becoming more and more disgusted and frustrated with each passing chapter of the story.
It’s not hard to imagine how Movie 43 was made. Anthology films with big name stars have been doing really well at the box office. Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and What to Expect When You’re Expecting turned in good numbers on star power alone. It’s easy on the actors–they only need to be on set for a day or two–and allows for a flexible production schedule.
The difference here is how disjointed the entire feature is. Each of the shorts within Movie 43 was written, directed, shot, and even produced by different people. This means that each of the 12 different stories was brought to life by completely separate teams. The only crossover is Elizabeth Banks directing one short and starring in another. Everything else is the doing of director/producer Peter Farrelly.
Put aside the juvenile gross out humor and shock value of big names like Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, and Naomi Watts signing on for this project. The problem with Movie 43 is that there is nothing to hold it together. It’s 90 minutes of poor quality sketch comedy with 12 completely different styles and tones. The film is jarring not because it’s edgy or inventive but because the content is so radically different from scene to scene.
Looking at the individual segments doesn’t help matters. The best one is Beezel (James Gunn directs) and that’s a really stupid spin on the live action/animated hybrids. A maniacal gay cat named Beezel plots to get rid of his master’s girlfriend so he can finally have his master for himself. The quality that puts it above the rest is actual production standards. The animation is good and it is edited into the live action footage very well. It’s just not very funny. It’s also not actually included in the framing device of the film; it airs after a long set of credits but before the actual even longer set of credits at the very end.
It’s only downhill from there. From the terrible prosthetic makeup in Truth or Dare to the shock value without substance or even an attempt at humor in Veronica, Movie 43 doesn’t even offer up one short that is well-made and actually funny. Never before have I sat in a theater during a comedy and heard nothing but deafening silence. I guess there’s a first time for everything.
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