The Reel: ‘Movie 43’ is ineffective and offensive


Ben Conniff

As the film’s tagline states, “Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.” But boy, do I wish I could.

“Movie 43” is about a crazed writer (Dennis Quaid) who pitches his movie idea to a studio executive (Greg Kinnear). The pitch is presented as a variety of comedic short films that expand across multiple plot lines, each with different characters.

What we’re presented with is awkward, cringe-inducing and just plain terrible. The humor is so disgusting and over-the-top that it’s nearly impossible to laugh. I’m shocked that major players like Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Emma Stone, Gerard Butler and Halle Berry were coaxed into doing a low-brow movie like this.

It’s uncharacteristic for everyone involved from the cast to its 12 directors, many of whom have solid credits to their name like Brett Ratner, Steven Brill, James Gunn and Peter Farrelly. You know things are bad when Sean William Scott and Johnny Knoxville star in a segment together, and you feel like even these two blockheads can do better.

The only scene that’s really hysterical is a segment that features Jason Sudeikis as Batman and Justin Long as Robin. There are a host of other names who make appearances as superheroes, and it’s a riot to see them parody such popular characters.

Otherwise, “Movie 43” is excruciating to watch from top to bottom. There were times where I honestly felt like walking out and asking for my money back. Hugh Jackman with a pair of testicles hanging from his chin? A sexually frustrated cartoon cat? A nude woman used as an MP3 player? A man who has to defecate so badly that he literally explodes when struck by a car? I mean, come on, really?

It’s disheartening to see so many Oscar-caliber actors stoop to this level, especially during a time when most of them are receiving attention for their fine work last year.

“Movie 43” also features the thinnest excuse of an interconnecting plot that I’ve ever seen. None of the characters in the segments acknowledge each other. Nobody seems to be within the same universe. There’s no resolution that brings all the characters together. It’s just multiple 10-15 minute short stories all strung together by a stupid plot featuring Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Common and Seth MacFarlane.

Quaid puts in far too much effort as the writer who seems to be stuck in his pre-teen years. That’s the only way to explain his sick sense of humor. And as a fan of Seth MacFarlane, I think this marks the first time I’ve heard him open his mouth and not found myself laughing hysterically. He’s given nothing funny to say, and he’s only in the movie for about a minute. Low comedy is this man’s forte, and he’s got nothing to show for it in a film that’s supposed to be an exhibition of exactly that type of humor.

Also, I’d like to add that I don’t really consider myself a spoken advocate of many causes, but I have a problem with the way “Movie 43” objectifies women, Asians and African-Americans. The iBabe music player, an Englishman getting facial reconstructive surgery in order to look Chinese, and an offensive take on the underdog basketball team story all prove to be too much.