These days, it’s difficult to push the envelop of what’s considered disgusting, revolting, offensive, repulsive and just plain bad taste. With raunchy sex-romps and bathroom humor constantly pushing the boundaries as far as they can go, there remains few spectacles on film that will actually shock an audience to the brink of intolerance.
After cringing my way through Movie 43, it was clear that is exactly what this movie set out to accomplish; Movie 43 challenged those who claim to have seen everything and remain unfazed by even the most disturbing images found anywhere from movies to the internet.
One can possibly say the unorthodox style of the film adds to its allure, although that MUST be taken with a grain of salt. The bulk of the movie consists of 12 separate stories all equipped with their own director. While this approach of diversity can be perceived as a good thing, each “short” is more absurd and outlandish than the next. Unless you wish to experience the most awkward theater experience of your life, do yourself a favor and leave Mom and Grandma at home. You’ll thank me later.
The man steering this endless train wreck is non-other than Peter Farrelly (producer and director of 2 “shorts”). Farrelly, along with directing partner and brother Bobby sat at the helm of some of the funniest films of the last 20 years. Comedic gems such as Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin and There’s Something About Mary served as critically acclaimed projects that perfectly showcased outrageous bathroom laughs while refraining from totally losing control. With Movie 43, it’s evident Farrelly had an itch to take it to the next level.
The movie starts out quite innocently, as Dennis Quaid’s character pitches his movie ideas to a studio executive played by Greg Kinnear. That’s where things get ugly. The audience is treated to Quaid’s first batch of ideas before Kinnear can’t take it anymore. When asked to leave, Quaid pulls out a gun and demands to round out his 12 movie scenarios. It’s almost as if the gun was pulled on the theater goers to remain in their seats; It get’s THAT outrageous.
I would be lying if I said I did not laugh at certain points in the film. The “I can’t believe this is happening” factor also proved at times to be somewhat entertaining. This of course could not have been achieved without the ensemble cast to end all casts. Everyone from Richard Gere to Kate Winslet to McLovin’ acted out the 12 different stories. Throughout the entire film, I kept asking myself what the writers (there were 15) and directors were trying to achieve with Movie 43. Perhaps they were banking on the shock factor of seeing respected (and not so respected) actors in ridiculous situations, or constantly having the audience guess how in the hell they convinced them to do it. At particular times this worked, but more often than not it failed miserably.
Farrelly has gone on to reveal that the movie took almost three years to shoot, as production had to work around the schedules of the countless number of actors (shooting began in March 2010 and released January 2013). One of the only initiatives the movie got right was the hype that resulted in the ambiguous previews leading up to the release date. Many saw the trailers and were curiously left scratching their heads; what in the world was this bizarre, seemingly intertwined collection of stories with the most star-studded cast ever assembled?
Unfortunately, the movie must live up to the hype in order to make it work. For those who DO think they have seen it all, you may experience a hilarious revelation. For those who wish somethings would simply remain ideas, you’re in for painful night.
1.5/4 stars. In theaters January 25th, watch the trailer for Movie 43 here.