ByAlexander Diminiano, writer at
Film critic and cinephile. Written over 600 reviews at Cinemaniac Reviews since July of 2011:
Alexander Diminiano

To endure the movie is to be enslaved. To enjoy it is masochism.

Movie 43 was directed by thirteen different people, written by nineteen. The cast amounts to forty-three (count ‘em) familiar faces. Forty-three, and that’s including Oscar winners. But get this: it’s impossible to tell that anyone here would ever win any kind of award. And no, when I say “award,” Razzies don’t count.

You’re probably wondering why Movie 43 is so bad, and why there’s not a mark of enjoyment here. Well, here it is, straight up: somewhere about three hours into this miserable, ninety-minute movie, Greg Kinnear–a movie producer–says a few eternal words to Dennis Quaid–an average joe who looks like he’s homeless, but probably has a million bucks, and is trying to sell his pitch for a movie. I think he was held at gunpoint when he said it, but anyway, the eternal words that Kinnear hath spake were, “We’re gonna make your movie this century’s Howard the Duck!” And then you realize, Movie 43 knows it’s sadistic, and it doesn’t care. (I’m not sure it cares about the fact that it’s even more agonizing than Howard the Duck.)

Movie 43 wants us to believe in a world where everyone is snobby, upper-class, and terribly stupid. Oh wait there was that one segment where we were informed that poor, African children live inside vending machines, copy machines, printers, etc. They’re pretty smart, I bet. I could put it in a simple analogy: Albert Einstein is to the “machine kids,” as Forrest Gump is to the L.A. nimrods.

The segment is called “Machine Kids”; indeed, this is what you would call a “sketch anthology,” on the condition that you actually appreciate its utterly juvenile sense of humor. The idea is basically to pitch every actor and actress aged 40 and younger in a random mess of poorly scripted, poorly conceived, tirelessly scatological gags. As if you need me to, I’ll sort of describe the first skit, just to provide you an example. (And I’d really rather not.) A man and a woman go out to dinner: Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet. Hugh has a pair of testicles hanging from his neck. Kate is the only one who notices–or has ever noticed. In fact, Hugh has been made fun of for his neck, but it’s not the testicles: it’s his “Frankenstein scar” right below them.

It’s tasteless (though shameless) comedy. The kind you really wish to forget. I am drafting this review on a legal pad, but I have my iPhone right beside me. Siri just told me she found four lobotomists in the area. Just my luck that all of them were too expensive. The movie really doesn’t do much service to its audience. If I had to choose the best performance, it’d be out of bias. Uma Thurman, one of my favorite actresses, as Lois Lane. By this movie’s standards, she’s as good as when she was Beatrix Kiddo.

Oh by the way. Scratch what I said a little while ago, about every cast member being 40 or younger. Thurman is 43. Though there must be some limit to age groups, because I don’t see Meryl Streep anywhere. And let us rejoice.

I could go off on a rampage of adjective after adjective. And it’s gonna spill out at some point. The movie gave up before it began, but as if that wasn’t obvious enough, they try and find the lamest excuse to just “roll that tape” instead of introducing the last sketch. Then there’s the credits, which I was dumb enough to sit through half of. I don’t know why I did. I’ll go with “I was tired. Really, really tired. Sick and tired.” You stay through half the credits, and they treat you to the possible worst of the batch: a skit about a cat who just loves his daddy and hates his mommy, both a bit too much. Knowing that the movie was still having fun with its sadism, only got on my nerves more. It takes a good, thought-provoking drama to get on my nerves. Either that, or something completely unemotional, like an unrealistic, random, awful, lazy, juvenile, poorly acted, poorly written, sadistic, unfunny “comedy” that owes a medical bill to my face for the number of times my palm made bone-cracking contact with it.

I hate to say that Movie 43 actually doesn’t have the power of causing something as horrific (not to mention, revolutionary) as a facepalm concussion. Especially if you don’t watch it. Though I stopped the adjectival rant before I got to “obscene,” “disgusting,” “offensive,” or “weird,” for one reason or another. Those were also in my notes.

The worst thing the movie tries to do, I think, is at the very beginning–and note my uncertainty. “It’s a smart movie, with heart,” says Quaid. If you know Movie 43, then you’ve probably been informed the same thing by x number of people, reviews, and any other sources. I can’t be more explicit than to say that this is the torture of seeing Quentin Tarantino direct a segment of Four Rooms, to the extreme.

Actually, you can forget that I said that. I do remember thinking that on its own, Tarantino’s segment in that movie would be enjoyable. That there isn’t a split-second to enjoy with Movie 43 is sad. It’s an open door of stupidity. You either nail something to it so nothing inside ever sees the light of day, or you put up a “masochists only” sign and go on with your day.

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