by Jase Howell
There are really special movies every once in a while. They don't come along often, but when they do they are unforgettable.
Granted, there are bad movies every year, and this late winter season is always a showcase for them. But, every once in a while, you get a legendary film of such bad proportions that it separates itself from simply horrible movies and into the Hall of Fame of Horrible Flicks. You may know the ilk of which I speak: "Ishtar," "Howard the Duck," "Leonard Part 6," anything starring Paulie Shore - you get the point.
So, welcome our newest inductee, "Movie 43." I'm at a loss to describe how this mess came to be, let alone try to make sense of the jumble of sketch comedies strewn together, seemingly with the aim of insulting movie-goers' intelligence as well as their sensibilities.
Producer Peter Farrelly started "Movie 43" some years ago, piecing it together with various writers and directors. If anyone was really waiting four years for this, believe me they would have been better off waiting until the end of the Earth. Considering the studio's release date there was some faith the Mayan calendar prophecy could have spared everyone this torture.
The Farrelly brothers have been on a slow but steady decline ever since "There's Something About Mary," which seems like eons ago. Here, Peter Farrelly has not only hit rock bottom, he's fracking for oil. The truly amazing thing is the vast amount of talent he is bringing along for the plunge. Somehow, star after star agreed to participate in these shorts, none of which you could ever imagine these stars signing on for unless hostages were involved. I guess part of the idea was as it's promo suggests, to make the most offensive movie you have ever seen. It is, in a way, but I don't think in a way they intended. They are, indeed, going after laughter but little of that is to be found here. The humor angles range from schoolyard humor, to the sophomoric, to the kind of comedy Paulie Shore would be good at, to "my God who are these writers I hope nobody is letting them near sharp objects."
You may think I'm exaggerating, so I'll give you just a taste of some of the stars and the brilliant humor in "Movie 43."
Let's start with the wraparound story, "The Pitch." Dennis Quaid is, um, I guess, supposed to be a screenwriter, but quite frankly looks like he stumbled out of a crack den. Yet he somehow has gotten onto a studio lot to meet with an exec played by Greg Kinnear. The rapper Common also appears in this wraparound. Nothing is really funny in the beginning, middle or end; but it does introduce the avenue for Quaid to give us the rest of the shorts that make up the "film."
And there is Nothing like starting out with a truly mature bit featuring Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman on a blind date, "The Catch." Winslet's character thinks she has won the jackpot with New York's most eligible bachelor, until he removes his scarf and revels he has something growing on his chin. If it wasn't cringe worthy at first, it certainly gets there as the overly long segment endures. Yes, Hugh Jackman and Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet. In a scene about a guy with balls on his chin.
Don't worry, they have plenty of company in this nonsense. Not to be outdone, real life couple Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts follow with "Homeschooled," in which they explain to dinner guests how their version of schooling works. It's funny for about two seconds, until Watts tries to make out with her son and Schreiber winds up hanging from a flagpole covered in feces.
Another real life couple, Chris Pratt and Anna Ferris, get credit for the most stomach-churning of the shorts. Pratt plays a man wanting to marry Ferris' character, and she is so in love with him she wants a special gift from him in the bedroom. I could go on, but I won't.
"Veronica" is a bit that somehow managed to drag the upand- coming Emma Stone into the mess. Stone's character has an extremely graphic conversation with her ex (Kieren Culkin) over a grocery store loudspeaker. Luckily for Stone, this segment is mercifully short.
"Truth or Dare" brings us Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant as a couple on a bizarre first date (this one also directed by Farrelly). Suffice to say, Berry was already following Farrelly's career trajectory and continues to do so here.
"Super Hero Speed Dating" stars Justin Long, Jason Sudekis, Uma Thurman, Bobby Cannavale, Kristen Bell and Leslie Bibb and is pretty unremarkable. "Middle School Date" (directed by Elizabeth Banks) may as well have been written by junior high school boys. "Victory's Glory" is weak in concept, but Terrance Howard makes the most of a retread joke. "Beezel" starring the aforementioned Banks and Josh Duhamel - you have to wait until midway through the credits see this - that is if you've made it to the credits somehow. It's about a man, his girlfriend, and a psychotic cartoon cat.
"Beezel" is nearly as bizarre as director Brett Ratner's "Happy Birthday," in which mster thespian Johnny Knoxville kidnaps a leprechaun for his best friend (Sean William Scott). The foul mouthed little guy is digitally portrayed by Gerard Butler. When I say foul mouthed I mean an "American Psycho" kind of deranged and demented potty mouth, and considering the bloodletting here it may have played better on "Tales from the Crypt" had it not been so profane.
If I haven't given you an idea how bad this all is, I don't think I can help you. Sure, you may think a little over the top is great sometimes, and I would agree - when it has some semblance of a point and is not just obscene and obnoxious just to be obscene and obnoxious. Think of it this way: South park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were supposed to do a short for this film, but backed out, probably because it was (doubtful) too offensive or (more likely) because they saw how incredibly un-funny it was going to be. As far as being any of the big names here, the only bright side they can say is, "I wasn't the only one in that movie."
The other bright side is with a film this horribly bad you can hope no one ever sees it. Sadly, though, whether it's at the box office, on DVD, or on cable people will see it. Sorry, and welcome to the hall of fame - all of you.