Movie 43 is quite possibly the worst comedy movie currently in existence. This is coming from someone who has seen Disaster Movie. This is coming from someone who has seen Jack and Jill. I never thought I would be able to use the phrase “this is CONSIDERABLY less funny than Jack and Jill”, as Jack and Jill wasn’t even remotely funny, but that truly is 100% the case here. If Jack and Jill is a pathetic excuse for a movie that clings to your legs, grovelling and begging you to find it funny, then Movie 43 is a movie that clings to your legs grovelling, and then pulls out a knife and shanks you in the spine, it is that bad.
Now, you may be looking at that poster thinking, “hey, that’s a pretty all star cast! How could such a bad film get stars like Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman”. Well, to that I have two answers. Answer number one is that virtually every single actor in this movie is ashamed of it. This is entirely reasonable. I dare say Hugh Jackman’s brief appearance in Deadpool on a magazine cut out stapled to Wade Wilson’s face was about a thousand times more dignified than his appearance in this atrocious piece of trash.
The second answer is that this movie went through quite a bit of development hell, taking around a decade to see any sort of release. During that time, from what I’ve heard, this movie was passed around a lot of people, and chances are it ended up a different movie to what was first planned. Towards the end, most actors who’d signed up were desperate to escape, but bound by contract.
Also, for some reason there are two versions of this movie. The movie is in fact a series of “comedy” sketches loosely tied together by a framing device “plot”. Version number one sees a framing device in the form of some guys trying to pitch a movie to a studio, or something. Version number two sees some dumb teens and a child prodigy hacking into the deep web to find a film so controversial it will destroy the fabric of humanity. I’ve only seen version two, and since judging version one would require me to watch the movie again, I’m afraid we’re going to have to stick with just reviewing that one.
So the film begins by introducing three characters, that being a dumb teen and a kid who’s a computer hacking genius. The kid pranks the two idiots, and they decide to get back at him by infecting his computer with viruses, by distracting him with the fake challenge of finding the most controversial movie in existence, “Movie 43”. Why, yes, this is a flimsy framing device. But do you know what? This framing device is actually the best part of the movie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely awful, but not only does it have the slightest shred of a “plot”, but its appearance on screen is a relieving indicator that the “sketch” you were just watching is finally over.
Anyway, our first sketch is Kate Winslet going on a date with Hugh Jackman. Hugh Jackman’s character has a scrotum hanging from his neck. That is the entire joke of this sketch. They do the usual cliche of “character looks like they’re acknowledging the elephant in the room, but they’re actually referring to something more minor”, but, that’s about it. There is so little to say about this sketch that I fear I’m not articulating just how awkward and cringeworthy it is to watch.
The second sketch gives me more to talk about, as this one actually has some potential, but wastes it thoroughly. We see two sets of parents discussing how the first set has chosen to homeschool their child. The joke is that they try to give him the complete high school experience, including harsh teaching, bullying, and even awkward romance. Now, this might (MIGHT) have worked if they’d started off telling stories about him that seem perfectly normal, then gradually get more and more questionable, culminating in an over the top climax. But, instead, they decide to jump in at the deep end and make the stories consistently bad and cringeworthy, culminating in incest.
To sum up, the incestuous homeschoolers are perhaps less unfunny than ball-neck-man, but worse due to the sketch having some potential.
Next up we have a man played by Chris Pratt try to propose to his girlfriend, only to find out she wants him to shit on her. Just to make things clear, this movie is going on the logic that things like shit and genitals can be inherently funny. He talks to his friends about it, who treat this as something all guys go through. Okay, writers, this might be funny if he said she wanted to do something, his friends gave him a pep talk about giving your girl what she wants, and then he announced she wanted him to shit on her, and they suddenly react a lot differently. Instead, we get to see him take a load of laxatives, then shit all across the road after being hit by a car. Again, shit is not inherently funny.
Next up, we get the most forgettable of the sketches. Some kid working in a store talks dirty to his ex girlfriend, unaware that his voice is being broadcast via the microphone beside the till. Once again, the punchline is made clear and dragged out throughout the skit. If it had only been revealed that he was inadvertently broadcasting their conversation to the entire store, and the skit had ended with everyone staring at him, it probably still wouldn’t have been funny, but at least there would have been some semblance of a punchline.
Now, halfway through the movie we get this fake advertisement for something called the “ibabe”, an MP3 that looks like a fully grown naked woman. (FYI, nudity is not inherently funny either)
Later, we see a new sketch where a video of a guy with mutilated fingers is being played to a boardroom of people, including Aasif Mandvi, aka General Zhao from the Last Airbender movie.
“The Last Airbender is no longer the worst movie on your resume”-yet another sentence I never thought I’d have to say.
So apparently there’s a ventilation fan in the ibabe’s vagina which has been mangling the penises of teens who try to fuck it. The joke here is that everyone in the boardroom bar one woman who has sense can’t seem to grasp that boys are trying to fuck the ibabe. Now the “only sane person surrounded by idiots” joke can often work, but in this case, it is far, far too obvious. Yes. A lot of teen boys like sexy naked women. General Zhao’s statement of “our sources indicate that’s not true” has some potential for a joke, but it’s wasted. As is the ending, which is near nonexistent. If the only sane woman had said something sarcastic along the lines of “well stick the fan in her ass instead”, and they’d all acted as though this was an ingenious idea, that once again wouldn’t be funny but would at least have some kind of punchline.
Then, we have quite possibly the worst sketch in the entire movie. Not because it’s the most disgusting, not because it’s the most unfunny, but because it is the most wasted potential of them all. Robin goes speed dating, and Batman repeatedly fuck it up for him. Now, that actually sounds like it has potential. There is so much that can be done with this. And yet what we get is the most half-baked sketch of them all. There’s no production value, the plot is paper thin, and the references are entirely wasted. Batman is literally just a guy in a batman suit. You could have EASILY parodied any of the Batmans, from the super goofy camp Adam West Batman, to the growly voiced edgy Christian Bale Batman. Instead, Batman’s just a dirty old asshole, and that’s it We could have had Christian Bale Batman parody teaching Robin how to flirt with women while coming off as threatening and growly voiced as possible, but instead we get a creepy old guy commenting on the size of Supergirl’s vagina. The entire cast are just people in suits, with absolutely no real jokes concerning their characters. So, we’ve covered shit, genitals, and nudity, no allow me to inform you that pop culture references are not inherently funny.
Another strange advertisement appears. This time a PSA about not abusing kids who live in everyday mechanical household appliances. This one is just bizarre, and not really worth covering.
Our next sketch features two young teens going on a date at the boy’s house, only for the girl to suddenly start menstruating. The boy doesn’t know what’s going on, while the boy’s older brother arrives and tries to find something to use as a tampon. Now, there are two potential jokes here: the younger boy thinking the girl is bleeding to death, and the brother trying to find some kind of bizarre tampon substitute. The problem is that both happen simultaneously, and both involve screaming and yelling-which of course is worsened by the fact that they happen simultaneously. And, this is another sketch with virtually no ending. The ending is that the boys and their dad watch a tampon commercial with a woman getting eaten by a shark. We don’t even see their reaction to it.
So then we get a sketch about a guy who, to apologise for sleeping with his friend’s girlfriend, catches a leprechaun for him. It turns out the leprechaun is super violent, and his equally violent brother shows up to try to save him. I barely have anything to say about this one. Unlike some of the others, the concept of this just makes me go “uh, what?” It’s not funny, it was never at any point funny. And while this one does have a punchline, it’s “the friend also caught a fairy who’ll suck their cocks for gold”. Right.
Our next sketch involves Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant going on a date, and playing a game of truth or dare. They dare each other to do outrageous things like Merchant getting a penis tattooed on his face, and Berry squirting hot sauce up her vagina. Again, we just see these things happen. We don’t see much in terms of reactions or consequence. This movie is, once again, relying on the notion that things can be inherently funny. Also, Stephen Merchant gets plastic surgery to look like a yellowface asian stereotype
Do I even need to comment on this?
So our penultimate sketch features an all black basketball team in the 50s being coached into beating an all white team. This sketch is about the least bad of them all, if only because there is some semblance of an actual joke here. The coach repeatedly states “you’re black. Black people always beat white people at basketball”, while the team is confused and starts hearing stereotypical coaching messages about things like teamwork, while the coach tries to pound his message in further. This is by no means funny, the writing and pacing see to that, but it’s about the least shameless. And this one has a punchline, featuring the white team going for a shot and scoring, only to reveal the score ends in 103-1 in favour of the black team.
Then, just as it looks like the movie is over, we get one last sketch, possibly the most atrociously disgusting and unfunny of the bunch. A couple’s relationship is being strained because the man’s cat, Beezel, clearly loves his owner a little too much and hates his girlfriend. Beezel is a 2D animated cat, who blends into the live action footage in no way whatsoever. And we get to see him masturbating to photos of his owner, attacking the girlfriend, spraying her as male cats do, and running her down in a car. This is not funny. It is cruel and utterly disgusting. There is no more to say about it than that.
Movie 43 is an absolute trainwreck of a movie. Jack and Jill had more substance and integrity than this piece of trash. It’s unfunny, pounds terrible jokes into the ground, assumes gross out and sex are enough in and of themselves to carry jokes, and is a black mark on the careers of everyone who starred in it. Literally the only person who looks respectable thanks to this movie is George Clooney, who promptly told the people asking him to star in it to fuck off.
Oh, by the way, the framing device plot continues throughout the movie. Remember how Jack and Jill fittingly ended with Al Pacino saying to “burn it and never let it see the light of day” (referring to the commercial he starred in). Well, this movie features some eastern european guy begging people not to watch Movie 43 throughout the movie. I think that more or less sums up what I will say to anyone curious about this movie.