Twitter Plot Summary: An assorted number of sketches linked either with a script pitching meeting or three teenagers. Neither is very good.
Five Point Summary:
1. Testicles on his chin.
2. Homeschooling. This is supposed to be amusing?
3. Halle Berry with plastic surgery.
4. Gerard Butler: Leprechaun.
5. Beezel, the animated gay cat.
Sketch shows, by their very nature, are hit and miss. Even at their finest, the likes of Monty Python or The Fast Show featured the occasional duff sketch. Movies that take on the same format live or die on the strength of their material, and also their ability to maintain audience enjoyment for at least 80 minutes. Movie 43 fails in almost every category, the sketches providing almost no humour beyond the fact we’re seeing established A-List actors performing the material.
The first problem is that the sketches are, on the whole, too long. In this era of fast paced comedy, spending four or five minutes on each sketch is a luxury that comedy can no longer afford unless the material is inherently strong. The opening sketch sees Hugh Jackman go on a dinner date with Kate Winslet, the joke being that Jackman’s character has testicles on his neck. That’s the joke. And the sketch runs for minutes. Minutes!
Some of the material could work if given some context – Beezel the animated cat, jealous of his owner Josh Duhamel shacking up with Elizabeth Banks – has the odd moment of humour but doesn’t have the focus to make it laugh out loud funny. One sketch that almost (almost!) generates genuine belly laughs is where Gerard Butler shows up as a leprechaun who has been kidnapped by Sean William Scott and Johnny Knoxville. There are a couple of mildly amusing moments but it feels aimless and the punchline isn’t worth the lengthy build-up.
The rest of the material is gross-out and deliberately bad taste humour. Bad taste jokes are absolutely fine when they’re done well, but again this is an area in which Movie 43 fails dramatically. If you’re a 14 year old boy then you’d possibly find this hilarious, although you wouldn’t be old enough to see this in the cinema and would have to wait for the home release. No doubt Movie 43 might achieve some level of support in the home video market from this section of the audience, but for everyone else it remains entirely unworthy of your time.
The connecting narrative between the sketches differs depending on which country the movie was released in. Here in Europe we received a story about three teenagers searching for the elusive Movie 43 which ultimately leads to the end of the world. The US meanwhile received a completely different connecting narrative of a washed up film maker pitching show ideas to a TV executive. This is a far better framing device but it doesn’t save the sketches themselves – they’re terrible either way.
With a couple of very minor selections, Movie 43 is a failure in almost every respect. A 90 minute comedy movie shouldn’t feel like it’s four hours long. Given that most of the celebrities who appear in the film seem to have done so because they owed a favour or blood oath or something to the producers, their presence should not be an indication as to the quality of the film or the material they are being forced to spout.