"Movie 43" is a debacle of the highest order, featuring four total laughs and two decent sketches amongst its entire 85-minute runtime. Looking at the fractions of 4/85 and then factoring in the two decent bits sprinkled in during 15 total shorts, one could come to the conclusion that this was a tax write-off scheme. There's simply no way they should have spent more than $30 bucks making this, it didn't have any writing! Or jokes! Or acting! Watching it, you can't help but channel Colonel Jessep from "A Few Good Men" a la "Please tell me there's more, please tell me you haven't pinned your entire film on site gags and poop humor."
Luckily, my mind has already started repressing and rationalizing the entire disaster, beginning the healing/coping process. Thanks, brain! The reason "Movie 43" is so awful is because it doesn't even deign to try.
These are the jokes you attempt at a bar, late at night, only to have your friends grimace, asking you to sit the next couple plays out. These are the jokes a toddler comes up with, thinking he's hysterical. This is the comedy that makes the word "lazy" seem far too productive, there are infomercials that offer much more in the way of entertainment and levity.
"Movie 43" is a prime example of what happens when no one involved knows what the hell is going on, the ship is headed toward the iceberg and the captain has fallen asleep in a pool of his own urine. Not every movie has to mean something, and not every film has to be hilarious, but to offer up a middle finger to the audience and call it a "comedy" is massively offensive. If we had given the money spent here to high schoolers, they'd have done a far superior job. If the talent involved here had decided to dedicate their craft to something worthwhile the world would be infinitely better off.
Instead we're left with a gaping wound on the side of cinema, a January release that's yearning to be hidden from audiences, the ugly stinking maw of a Hollywood system that thinks you're an idiot. Supporting this film is supporting pure evil, because the economy is fragile, and there are a million causes more worthy than this, even if that cause is buying yourself a cheeseburger. Compared to "Movie 43," a cheeseburger is St. Peter's Cathedral.
Let's take a scientific look at the level of humor we're talking about, to diagnose the very reason those who have never seen a joke will love this movie.
**Spoiler alert for a film you should never see anyway**
Sketch 1: Continuous testicle site gag.
Sketch 2: Incest / poop humor.
Sketch 3: Straight-up poop humor.
Sketch 4: Light STD humor, mostly focusing on old people jokes and "he forgot to turn the microphone off!" cleverness.
Sketch 5: It's funny! The short is only 20 seconds, and there's no dialogue, but still, a legitimate chuckle comes here! Savor it.
Sketch 6: Comic book, semen, and lady parts-related humor. The actors are all game, but the writing had to have been done on the back of a napkin, if it was done at all.
Sketch 7: Easily the most coherent joke of the entire film, this could have passed for an "SNL" skit (placed near the end of the show).
Sketch 8: A follow-up on Sketch 5, though with halfway decent execution. This marks the last laugh of the entire film. Bon voyage, comedy!
Sketch 9: Period blood humor.
Sketch 10: Leprechaun comedy? I guess that's a thing?
Sketch 11: A sketch about the game "Truth or Dare" that somehow slips into a montage around 90 seconds in.
Sketch 12: A breaking of the fourth wall. Sigh.
Sketch 13: Obvious and oft-repeated racial comedy.
Sketch 14: Hyper-realized cartoon humor.
I should also note there's one continuous sketch that runs throughout the entire film involving a hostage situation. There's one laugh in there for the ten minutes of screen time it inhabits. If we posit that comedy comes from the element of surprise, there isn't any skill in placing testicles as a growth on one's neck. That comes within the first seven minutes of the film, only that's the entire gag. It's almost as if you're being purposefully messed with, struggling to find the comedy where none was even attempted.
Here are the people who were in the film, think of all the better things they could have been doing instead: Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Kate Bosworth, Katrina Bowden, Gerard Butler, Common, Josh Duhamel, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, John Hodgman, Terrence Howard, Hugh Jackman, Greg Kinnear, Johnny Knoxville, Justin Long, Seth MacFarlane, Jack McBrayer, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz, Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi, Chris Pratt, Dennis Quaid, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Liv Schreiber, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, Kate Winslet, and Naomi Watts.
Stunning, no? That's the largest ensemble cast ever assembled, all that talent and time completely wasted on an utter catastrophe. Want one final nail in the coffin? Actual funny persons Trey Parker and Matt Stone were initially supposed to direct one of the shorts here, but it never happened, most likely because they read the script and realized they were dealing with imbeciles. Instead of directing poop jokes, they opted to write "Book of Mormon," a wise choice given their musical has more laughs in its opening three minutes than "Movie 43" ever pulls off. The truly amazing thing is that anyone involved here once brought us "Something About Mary," this now seems like a fluke of the highest order, lightning hitting a guy living in an underground bunker.
Douglas Adams opined that 42 could be "the answer to life, the universe, and everything ." Maybe he was on to something, because it certainly seems like "Movie 43" is the final answer to "how low can cinema sink without actively punching us in the face?" An epically miserable viewing experience, go ahead and skip this one unless you're seeking to answer the riddle of what happens when people don't try at their jobs.