I hope you're all enjoying January, everybody! A winter wonderland of rejected movies that studios are scared to release any other time of the year. In most cases, it seems like a justifiable move, as most January releases are terrible. I actually like that they do this. It's a heads-up that what you are about to see will be awful. A full month of lowered expectations. Now, I see movies pretty much every weekend, so I'm quite aware that I won't like what I see this time of the year, but I watch them anyway. Probably out of boredom. In Movie 43's case, I saw it out of morbid curiosity.
Supposedly taking four years to make, in order to get the A-list talent to work in between their real films, Movie 43 is a handful of short sketches created by several different directors. All of which are under the guidance of one or both of the Farrelly Brothers, who haven't been funny since Me, Myself, & Irene came out 13 years ago.
Movie 43 is basically the lowest form of comedy. Not even just in the potty humor that runs throughout, but in the fact that every joke is dragged out obnoxiously too long, and most of them don't even have punchlines. The whole thing is basically a concept. And the concept is whether or not you'll laugh at the thought of "poop". Not even jokes about "poop", but just the fact that "poop" exists. Or the fact that "testicles" exist. Or the fact that "boobs" exist. This movie doesn't really make jokes about any of those things, but it simply says the word "poop" and hopes that you'll giggle mercilessly like a 12-year-old boy. This is basically a 100 minute adaptation of the moment when Beavis & Butthead hear the word "Hollywood" and then Butthead goes, "Huhuhuhuhuhuh... WOOD... huhuhuh..."
Since it made basically no money at the box office (but to the film's credit, it only cost $6 million), I'm going to assume none of you actually saw this film, and most of you have no plans to ever see it. Let me go through and explain to you the atrocity that was Movie 43. Or as I like to call it, Two Good Short Films Floating in a Sea of Garbage Water.
The first segment is the main story of the film, about Dennis Quaid (dressed in a bizarre teenage outfit and haircut) trying to sell a studio executive (played by Greg Kinnear) a movie that consists of the worst ideas ever. Basically he says, "Now wait, listen to THIS idea!" and it goes into a short film, for the entire length of the Movie. It also features Seth McFarlane trying to pitch a movie idea saying "Well, it's basically Family Guy meets Schindler's List..." giving you an idea of the cheap, lazy laughs that Movie 43 is going for. And it ends in the laziest way possible. The film quite literally gives up on this segment. I'm happy we sat through all that boring, humorless crap knowing that they would just give up on it without a punchline... They, again literally, just say "Whatever, let's not even try anymore, just roll the last short film" at the end. Movie 43's laziness has no bounds.
The first actual short film is about a blind date between Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman. The surprise twist? Hugh Jackman has a pair of testicles on his neck. Every terrible joke about testicles is exhausted in this segment. I think I laughed once, when he got cold and they shrank; but they were mostly just jokes about dipping balls in soup, and taking a photo with Winslet and the balls resting on her shoulder. Again, not really jokes about balls; but more so just hoping that you'll laugh at the existence of balls. It doesn't even have an ending, as the short gets interrupted in the main story segment and just stops. So no punchline. And also if you remember, South Park did a whole episode where Butters gets balls on his chin, but it was actually clever/funny.
The next short film was probably the funniest thing in the entire movie. It was about some parents (Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts) who home school their teenage son. But in order to make him get the entire high school experience, they go as far as to haze him, torment him, and even give him awkward sexual temptations. It had an appropriate level of vulgarity, it wasn't very long, and it had a funny punchline (a rarity in Movie 43). It had focus and didn't overstay its welcome. It was one of two sketches in this movie that I would actually consider watching again.
The next one, however, was back to being awful. Chris Pratt is planning on asking his girlfriend to marry him (played by real life wife Anna Faris). But before he can get his question out, she asks him if he'll poop on her during sex. He's nervous about it, so he takes laxatives and eats a bunch of burritos, and the whole thing ends in a big explosion of poop. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! (passes out from laughing so hard)
Whoa, what happened? I think I was laughing so hard at the diarrhea jokes that I blacked out. Oh well, let's move on. The next one is about two strange lovers (Kieran Culkin and Emma Stone) who have a public breakup in a grocery store. They just pretty much say inappropriate "love" comments to each other for five minutes, like "I wanna give you a hickey on your [private parts]." It was actually slightly chuckle-worthy, especially when Emma Stone started tearing up; and they did a good job playing it as straight as possible. But ultimately it had no point and went on too long. It was also lacking a punchline, and had a dumb non-ending. In a movie about telling short joke films, they should all theoretically have a good ending, right? You'd think? I guess this one falls more into the interesting concept category instead of the actually funny category.
There was a commercial in the middle of the movie as well. A nonsensical concept that orphan children are inside office equipment like printers and copy machines, and they get sad when you yell at the machines for not working right. I didn't know what to make of it, because it made absolutely no sense and wasn't funny.
Following that was iBabe. An Apple spoof about a music players that look and feel exactly like a naked woman. They put a fan down by her privates, and there is a hole to keep the fan cool... ... ... The sketch is about a board meeting where they discuss the ongoing problem with teenagers sticking their stuff in the fan hole and getting mangled. A possibly (?) funny idea done with the worst execution possible. It's a dumb, juvenile, 30-second joke that gets stretched out to like eight minutes. Richard Gere was in it, as well...
Oh man... the next one, Superhero Speed Dating, is the absolute bottom of the barrel. Robin (Justin Long) is going on some speed dates in Gotham (with the likes of Lois Lane and Supergirl), and a silly, giggling Batman (Jason Sudeikis) shows up to foil a bomb threat by Penguin. In the process he ruins Robin's chances at getting a date, by being an a**hole. It goes on for what seemed like 15 minutes, and it was painfully unfunny. It felt like a terrible SNL sketch. The attire was even cheap, 1960's style Batman costumes, and the whole thing felt slapped together and awful. The punchline of the skit? You tell me. What a complete waste of time.
Ahhh jeez, after that was a short about a middle school date (featuring Chloe Grace Moretz, who at 15, still seems above this role) where the girl has her first period and the boy freaks out. Then his older brother freaks out. Then their dad freaks out. Then the girl's dad freaks out when he comes to pick her up. It's the same joke being told over and over again for five minutes. And it wasn't that funny of a joke to begin with. As far as being clever goes, this segment was on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Then comes the Brett Ratner directed segment. It features Sean William Scott and Johnny Knoxville (both acting like they didn't really want to be there) kidnapping a leprechaun (Gerard Butler) and trying to torture it to get its gold. All of the humor derives from how hilarious you find a leprechaun dropping F-bombs non-stop is, and whether or not you like seeing Johnny Knoxville fight a little person. I assume fans of Wayans Brothers' spoofs dug this one. Or like a regular Tyler Perry watcher. It seems right up their alley. It actually does have a distinct punchline, but one so obvious and blunt that it becomes annoying and frustrating. Ehhhh, I really hated this segment.
Next up comes a blind date segment abou- wait, didn't they already have a blind date segment? And a speed date segment? And a middle school date segment? UHHHHG, whatever, this one is about a blind date between Halle Berry and Steven Merchant, who play a game of truth or dare that starts off small and harmless, but escalates into crazy stuff like getting plastic surgery and whatever. It actually has a working punchline, which they immediately reverse by extending the segment 30 more seconds and saying "Just kidding!". I assume this was because they wanted to show the audience Halle Berry's HILARIOUSLY GIGANTIC FAKE BREASTS! HAHAHAH! BOOBS! LOOK EVERYBODY, BOOBS! HOW COMICALLY LARGE! I think I just witnessed the death of wit.
Also, side question, hasn't Halle Berry been in enough terrible movies to no longer be considered an A-list talent? Talk amongst yourselves.
The film kind of closes on the 1950s basketball segment you've probably seen in the commercials, where the joke is "black people are good at basketball". There's not much more to it than that. What you see in the commercial is the complete extent of the joke, but it still manages to go on for several more minutes after that. If you like seeing Terrence Howard yelling "You're black, they're white" while throwing things for five minutes... then here you go. For me, it was a true test of patience.
If you manage not to immediately leave during the credits/blooper reel, you're treated to one final sketch, which is actually pretty funny and the second of the two legitimately funny segments in Movie 43. It's a sitcom called Beezel the Cat, in which Josh Duhamel owns a cartoon cat named Beezel who is grotesquely animated and sadistically trying to kill his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks). I can't find anywhere on the internet that tells me who actually animated the cat, but it looked a lot like John Kricfalusi's work (of Ren & Stimpy fame). And I love me some John K. Beezel was directed by James Gunn, who has directed good movies in the past, and is probably the best director attached to Movie 43. So I guess this sketch's success actually makes sense to me. If anything, Beezel made me exit the theater laughing, which I wasn't expecting to happen based on the 95 minutes that preceded it. In a movie with two only good notes, it actually went out on one. Good for Movie 43, I guess...?
To sum it up, Movie 43 is a terrible train wreck of lazy comedy. If they ever release all the sketches on the internet, watch the Homeschooling one and the Beezel the Cat one. Avoid everything else like the plague.
3 out of 10
Scott Roberts: he sees bad movies, so you won't have to.
This movie's promos remind me of my youth when I went to see a double-feature marathon of Groove Tube AND Kentucky Fried Movie. Man, my butt was numb after that marathon and my sides were sore from guffawing. That was some of the first nudity and near-nudity I'd ever seen up until then. I never saw Betty Thomas the same way in Hill Street Blues after that. Anyway, between the two of those films there were some great, classic comedy bits that were more or less cutting-edge for the 70's. Scott, I'd like to get your view on Movie 43 versus the likes of "Brown 25".
You have my glatitude.
(And to this day, I KNOW that the capitol of Nebraska is LLLLINCOLN!)
I've seen Kentucky Fried Movie, but I've never seen Groove Tube. There's not much comparison between KFM and Movie 43, because the former is actually clever. Also it's funny. And silly. Movie 43 is more or less just going for the most obvious joke and it's not hiding that fact in any way. It just showed a lack of intelligence. You can make a dumb comedy that's still smart. I would throw the Farrelly Brothers' first film, Dumb & Dumber, into that category. It's brilliantly stupid.
As I said earlier, I haven't seen Groove Tube, but I did look up "Brown 25" and I was laughing quite a bit at it. See, there's the difference... it's making a joke about poop, not just saying the word "poop" and hoping that you'll laugh.
For those, like me, who have never seen it before:
It also reminded me of the show Look Around You, a hilarious BBC series that I'm sure had some influence from things like Groove Tube:
I know what you're streaming this weekend, Scott:-)
What does anyone suppose the total cost for all the cast members was? Obviously many of them were taking a major pay cut.
This review is truly takin' one for the team.
It does sound like a bunch of SNL skits strung together into a feature length movie. What the producers have obviously failed to realize is that post 1997, the only purpose for an SNL skit is to pass the time between the cold open and Weekend Update, and then again to pass the time between musical performances, unless of course the musical guest is someone you have never heard of, in which case the whole show after the cold open and Weekend Update is simply an excuse to stay awake and drink another couple of beers.
With the exceptions of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, SNL has produced so many forgettable moments in the 21st Century.
I'd like to see Scott review one or all of the following - I think they would all be entertaining:
Jurassic Park 2
Any episode of Knight Rider
A Whopper with Cheese
A Business Self-Help Book - pick any, they are all the same
A Young Adult Vampire novel - pick any, they are all the same (I hear)
The Yellow Pages
Yep, that's right. Get Scott Roberts to review any product even if it is not a movie. Then someone else narrate that review and edit pictures to it. Take 4 or 5 of these reviews, string them together and call them a movie!
Good job Scott. I may catch this on TBS late night in like 2 months!
I could see Christopher Walken reading out of the Yellow Pages for a film...I guess it short of worked for
Utah Video Productions
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[Mike Cohen] "Yep, that's right. Get Scott Roberts to review any product even if it is not a movie."
On a completely unrelated note to movies, I did once write a guest post on my cousin's blog (which is no longer in existence) about my feelings on grocery store self checkout lanes. It seemed to go over pretty well at the time. It's quite angry! Here it is (slightly censored), if you were wondering what my writing is like when not about movies:
One thing I truly despise is when people use convenient technology inconveniently. Self-checkout lanes at the grocery store are a perfect example. I find the self-checkout lanes to be a genius idea. It’s quite possibly the most convenient technology available for the shopping experience. If I only have a few items, I don’t want to wait in line behind some person purchasing 100 items, it’s a way for me to quickly skip the waiting process… and interacting with the cashier… and thanking the bag boy… For an antisocial lump like myself, these are things I would rather not do, even if the regular lane is wide open. I prefer almost all of my shopping experiences to have as little human interaction as possible. So a system that offers 100% self service is perfect. But that’s only if people use it correctly. Which is very often not the case.
There should be strict rules to using the self-checkout lanes at the grocery store. People of average intelligence who have used a computer in the last 10 years should theoretically have no problem using these lanes. But don’t bother using them if:
1. You are old as dirt. Elderly people are the worst when it comes to self checkout lanes. I’ve seen an old woman in front of me walk up to the self checkout lane, and just stare at the computer screen for 30 seconds. She honestly didn’t do anything for 30 seconds. Think about how long 30 seconds really is if you’re just standing in line behind someone staring an angry hole into the back of their head. She had to get the self-checkout lane supervisor to literally help her with every item… She effectively turned the self checkout lane into a regular lane. I’ve seen other old people not immediately understand the concept of touch screen technology. If the supervisor tells you you need to press the screen and you say “OH?!”, then you are TOO OLD FOR SELF CHECKOUT LANES. You NEED the assistance of others.
2. You have a freaking cart. I know not all stores have the little sign that says “15 items or less”, but you have to understand that these lanes were designed for EXPRESS checkout. They are for people who have made quick purchases, or only purchased a small amount of items. If you’ve gone shopping for a month’s worth of food, and you have a cart brimming with merchandise, GO TO A REGULAR LANE. Even I, who declares myself to be a perfect self-checkout lane user, would still take forever to use these lanes if I was purchasing 50 items. That’s why I don’t use them when I purchase 50 items. The regular lanes have a perfect design for large quantities of food. The cashier whizzes the stuff through the scanner like a pro, and the bag boy puts them in the bag and back into your cart. They’re both good at what they do, because they do it all day, and it’s a great system for what it is. That’s because scanning 50 items is more than a one person job. At least in terms of efficiency. So to the lady last week who had that cart full of food in the self-checkout lane, I hope you were aware that I was daydreaming about murdering you. Now, hand carts are acceptable to a degree, because I like using hand carts if I’m getting eight items and milk or something I wouldn’t want to juggle in my hands. But I’ve seen people using the self-checkout lanes with hand carts filled with countless little $1 items that take forever to scan. Just because it’s in a hand cart doesn’t always mean it’s OK. It’s about the number of items, you melvins.
3. You have fruits or vegetables. Alright, alright, I know some people are smart enough to purchase fruits and vegetables in the self-checkout lanes. It’s actually not that big of a deal if you know what you’re doing. But as you can imagine, some mouth breather who’s buying a bag of apples for the first time in his life is going to struggle with the process. I’d say it’s somewhere around 80% of people get slowed down by this, and have to ask the supervisor for help. I kind of actually enjoy watching the supervisor come over and do it right in front of them in like 3 seconds and make them look foolish, but still, it’s delaying the process. How about this, if you want to play with the big boys, wait until there is no line in the self-checkout lane to experiment with the vegetable process. There’s no place for your adventurous, asparagus buying spirit when four people behind you are waiting for you to figure out how to work the scale.
4. You have coupons. 90% of the time the supervisor has to come over and deal with people when they use coupons. It’s ridiculous. The objective here is to have as little human interaction as possible, so don’t risk it with the coupons. And don’t freakin *argue* with the supervisor about the coupons and their validity. If you wanted to argue with a human about your coupons, then go to the regular lanes, dingus. There’s a human waiting for you at the end of the line. Every time. Meanwhile, I’m stuck waiting for two extra minutes so you could save ten cents on that packet of chicken gravy.
5. You are paying with small cash. I was waiting behind this white-trashy looking couple recently who were paying for $24 worth of groceries with $5 and $1 bills and change. You do realize if you go into a regular lane, you can hand your big wad of smelly hooker cash to the cashier all at one time (I KNOW, RIGHT?) and they will give you change immediately (!). It’s a 10 second process. In the self-checkout lanes, you have to put every dollar in one and a time, nice and slow… Oh, there’s a rip in your dollar?! Better keep trying it over and over again! I’m certainly not seething with rage while standing behind you! This vein on my forehead was always here! …get a bank account, you lowlifes. Debit cards make everything better.
6. You are using the self-checkout lanes because you think it will be “fun”. You know, the guy who created the self-checkout lane didn’t create it as a novelty. It’s not some demented virtual reality machine designed to give rich suburbanites the chance to experience the life of a poor grocery store cashier. “Did you use that new machine at the Jewel, Tina? I feel like I know what’s like to work for minimum wage now, haha! It was so much fun!” There’s nothing fun about scanning your own items. You’re essentially doing work. You’re actually doing work that the store pays other people to do, but you’re doing it yourself for free. The benefit is that you get to skip the long lines with the people purchasing many items, and quickly purchase your 6 items, if you are efficient with the technology. It’s almost like the store is giving you a great responsibility, saying “you can hurry up this whole process if you’re willing to do the work yourself”. It’s actually a nice message. Meanwhile, these ditzy teenagers are taking forever because they are cracking awful jokes and laughing about how Cody is scanning it wrong (OMG! ROFLMAO!). If you're the kind of person who is so entertained by the concept of scanning bar codes that using the self-checkout lanes puts a gleeful smile on your face; then you need to get out of the house and find a hobby as soon as possible. Your life is terribly empty.
7. You let your kids scan the items. Kids are known morons and they slow everything down. I mean, that was a nice father/daughter bonding session you had right there. It was sweet. But I only have an hour lunch break, and I’m trying to get home in time to squeeze in an episode of The Daily Show before I have to go back to work. HURRY UP.
I will say though, that *for the most part*, I have no problems with the self-checkout lanes. I have probably a 70% success rate of going up to them and waiting a minute for normal people to use them correctly, then I go ahead and use them correctly, and we all get out of there as quickly as possible. Maybe it’s *because* of all the perfection I’ve witnessed with the system working beautifully that it bothers me so much when someone screws it up. Even a two minute delay shouldn’t happen! I almost wish that the grocery store would require that you pay a yearly fee to use the self-checkout. A small amount. $50 a year or something. That would weed out the lowlifes and the stupid people, and give an opportunity for those of us who actually appreciate the efficient gift that has been given to us to continue to use it with maximum efficiency. I’d happily pay for my convenience and my time. End Rant.
I have an occasional problem with the DIY checkout at the store. Every once in a while, the thing will stop everything to loudly declare:
Unscanned item in bagging area!"
After checking things out a time or two, I discovered the thing has an overly sensitive scanning process, and when it accuses me:
"UNSCANNED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA!"
I yell back at it:
"IT'S MAH BELLY, YOU STUPID MACHINE!"
This movie has got to be one of the worst ever made with an All-Star cast at that! With such a bunch of talented actors/actresses, this movie still bombs as the worst of January.
Life as we know it is full of surprises. Better to color your world with art.