Thursday, 25 July 2013

Movie 43

Just released on Blu-ray is the new sketch show come feature film Movie 43. It stars an obscene amount of people you’ve probably heard of including Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Anna Faris, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, Kristen Bell, and Kate Winslet among others. The film is, as I’ve mentioned, a group of comedy shorts starring people significantly more famous than what you’d see on BBC3. Think a big budget episode of Saturday Night Live.

A bit of research will tell you that practically none of the cast, if any of them, wanted to be in the film and had signed on prematurely and got guilted into it later. Richard Gere did everything he could to get dropped from the film and other actors denied flat out when asked to be involved such as George Clooney who replied with the very direct “No fucking way”. It has been described as “The Citizen Kane of awful” and though I struggle to take peoples advice on what films I should watch based on their merits I am always startlingly intrigued by a film that’s famous for it’s terrible quality. Anyway sketch-by-sketch, here is some of my favourite and more memorable parts of Movie 43.

The Thread
The framing device for the UK version of Movie 43 is one of the weakest parts of the film in which a couple of stoned out morons make a YouTube video which gets an obscene amount of views in a very small period of time. It turns out to be the little brother, who is a tech genius, playing a prank with a fake YouTube page and they get irate. In response they make up a movie and challenge the little genius to find it for them, this is merely a distraction device so they can download a lot of viruses onto the kids’ computer as a revenge tactic. This leads to him ploughing through a collection of ‘banned’ short films. It’s a means to an end and doesn’t overly entertain; unless you play ‘smoke-along-with Calvin and J.J’ then it might be funny.

The Catch
Beth (Kate Winslet) is a woman, who is over worked and under penetrated and her desperation has overflowed until her friends have insisted on setting her up on a blind date with a man so attractive that it seems that coffee tables could get aroused and impregnated just by having him set a mug on them. The gentleman in question is called ‘Davis’ and is played by Hugh Jackman, he is undeniably perfect and for some reason single and Beth can’t believe her luck. She finds fault with him though; as he whips off his scarf a big manscaped set of testicles are revealed to be permanently dangling from his throat and for some reason Beth is the only person noticing them. It’s an okay joke, and seems to end just before it gets over used, when he sets his neck-testicles (or nesticles) onto a baby’s head or into Beths face while posing for a photo, its funny, but in a silly way. It feels like an adult cartoon, the kind of thing South Park would have done at the start of their journey all those years ago.

The Proposition
Sweet and innocent girls don’t sleep with their boyfriends until they are seriously invested in a relationship. In a parody of this traditional rom-com trope, the girl Julie decides she is ready to invite her boyfriend Doug to poop on her as a demonstration of her love for him. He doesn’t seem one hundred percent comfortable with discovering his girlfriend is a coprophiliac, though he decides after some friendly advice, to eat a lot of mexican food and to down a bottle of laxative to help him perform under pressure. She doesn’t appreciate his eagerness, caused by a turd equivalent of premature ejaculation, and she runs out. Chasing after her he gets hit by a car and explodes the contents of his bowels across the street and pulls out a wedding ring and proposes. This sketch is low, degrading, disgusting and childish and for some reason one of my favourites despite most of my viewing time having been spent behind my hands so as not to see any sort of conclusion. It’s the kind of sketch that would’ve been thrown together by an improv group made up of five-year-old boys.

Superhero Speed Dating
This is basically batman and robin speed dating, it seems like an interesting premise, but it felt to me like one of the most tedious and lazy sketches in the whole thing. I didn’t realise how much I hated it until I was in a different room weeping into old issues of DC comics and apologising to them for what I had witnessed. Fast-forward the crap out of this one.

Now the whole film is very hit and miss, just like any sketch show, the only thing it has over a normal sketch show is the budget and the quality of acting, however here are my top three sketches in reverse order of how much shit they weren’t.

Middle-school Date
A young girl, while making out on the sofa with her boyfriend, suddenly gets her period for the first time causing all the men in the house to freak out in different ways. Her boyfriend for example is too young to have attended sex education classes or to have seen the first few scenes of Stephen King’s Carrie and thinks she is dying. It’s funny and awkward and is probably better after a lot of illegal green leaves but was entertaining anyway.

Happy Birthday
This one features Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville. The basic premise is that Knoxville’s character Pete has kidnapped a Leprechaun as a present to Seann’s character Brian for his birthday. The reason being that if you capture a Leprechaun he will give you a big pot of gold. Or so the story goes. Eventually the phone rings and another leprechaun has called threatening to do horrible things to Seann and Johnny due to the kidnapping of his brother. Eventually the other one is convinced to come up with the gold in exchange for their tiny prisoner. This turns out to be a trap and involves a lot of over the top silly violence. My favourite bit is the end so I’ll leave that to you to discover as it feels like the punch line to one of those jokes you would’ve been sent as a “Subject:FWD:FWD:FWD:great joke” in the mid nineties and works well, and also the torture scene of a mystical creature has its merits because of how terrifying those little guys are.

Truth or Dare
This is the only real reason to watch this film as it is easily the best sketch wherein Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant are on a date (which could easily be the best joke in the film) and to avoid a stale ‘first date’ vibe they decide to dare each other to do increasingly awful things. The only sketch I laughed out loud at.

The best reason to watch this film is sheer curiosity. It raises a philosophical question ‘Can a film really deserve a positive rating of 4% on, if it’s not directed by Uwe Boll?’ It’s fair to say that I’ve had less fun watching some blockbusters but I’ve also had more fun pulling my fingernails out with a set of Games Workshop pliers, so I’ll leave this up to your personal opinion. I think it’s probably a good one to watch drunk or otherwise inebriated and may become a cult classic.

David Roberts, CeX Ann Street, Belfast

Movie 43 at CeX

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