Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #295
Number of Views: Two
Release Date: January 25, 2013
Genre: Comedy Anthology
Country of Origin: United States
Box Office: $32,438,988
Running Time: 94 minutes (US version), 98 minutes (US version)
Directors: Steven Brill, Peter Farrelly, Will Graham, Steve Carr, Griffin Dunne, James Duffy, Jonathan van Tulleken, Elizabeth Banks, Patrik Forsberg, Brett Ratner, Rusty Cundieff, James Gunn
Producers: Charles B. Wessler, John Penotti, Ryan Kavanaugh
Screenplay: Steve Baker, Ricky Blitt, Will Carlough, Tobias Carlson, Jacob Fleisher, Patrik Forsberg, Will Graham, James Gunn, Claes Kjellstrom, Jack Kukoda, Bob Odenkirk, Bill O’Malley, Matthew Alec Portenoy, Greg Pritikin, Rocky Russo, Olle Sarri, Elizabeth Wright Shapiro, Jeremy Sosenko, Jonathan van Tulleken, Jonas Wittenmark
Narrators: Eric Stuart, Phil Crowley
Cinematography: Frank G. DeMarco, Steve Gainer, Matthew F. Leonetti, Daryn Okada, William Rexer, Mattias Rudh, Eric Scherbarth, Newton Thomas Sigel, Tim Suhrstedt
Score: Christophe Beck, David J. Hodge, Leo Birenberg, Tyler Bates, William Goodrum
Editing: Debra Chiate, Patrick J. Don Vito, Suzy Elmiger, Mark Helfrich, Craig Herring, Myron Kerstein, Jonathan van Tulleken, Joe Randall-Cutler, Sam Seig, Cara Silverman, Sandy Solowitz, Håkan Wärn, Paul Zucker
Studios: Virgin Produced, GreeneStreet Films, Charles B. Wessler Entertainment
Distributor: Relativity Media
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Common, Charlie Saxton, Seth MacFarlane, Mike Meldman, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Jeremy Allen White, Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Kieran Culkin, Emma Stone, Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Bobby Cannavale, Kristen Bell, John Hodgman, Leslie Bibb, Katrina Bowden, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Patrick Warburton, Jimmy Bennett, Matt Walsh, Gerard Butler, Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant, Terrence Howard, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel
Suggested Audio Candy
Morten Abel “Inparticular”
People talk a lot of smack. Some of those people have positions of great responsibility; the masses hang from their every word and place faith in their safe-keeping. So what do they do? They abuse the shit out of it and sit on their cozy little pedestals spewing vitriol. I wish I were speaking of a small demographic but, alas, smack-talking appears to have taken off. As a result, when a film like Movie 43 surfaces and accrues an aggregate score as lowly as 4%, the whole free world avoids it like a dose of bubonic. It’s the whole reason that I started to appraise movies in the first place; the people need some representation as some of us are easily pleased. Let’s not get it twisted; strap me to a couch and play Epic Movie and Disaster Movie back-to-back and, chances are I will spit something into your face which belongs in my stomach lining. However, as inappropriate and shockingly frank as this movie is, it is impossible not to find amusing.
This appraisal is all about evening the score; making up in some small way for all the smack-talking which has been aimed in this film’s direction. It has been accused of being crude, in the poorest taste and dishonorably misogynistic. Is it guilty on all counts? Actually it’s pretty scandalous and has all the sensitivity of a Trojan horse on a slalom. But we live in a world where pretty much anything is fair game and have long since become desensitized to a little political incorrectness. Within five minutes of this movie beginning to unspool, you should be more than aware of where the tone is headed. It doesn’t disappoint and consistently stoops to new lows but, as for misogyny, come on now. If you’re looking for high-brow entertainment then you may well be distressed as Movie 43 has no discernible brows whatsoever. But it means no harm and it is here that I must leap to its defense as currently it is regarded as one of the worst movies of all time by many and that’s just poor form in my book.
There are two distinctly different versions of this in circulation; the difference being the wraparound. I would suggest stumping for the American cut as it’s vastly superior. It introduces us to a washed-up film-maker (Dennis Quaid), who attempts to pitch his manuscript to a downtrodden film executive (Greg Kinnear) by fair means or ultimately foul. His allegory is relayed by way of a handful of skits and faux-pas commercials, ranging from mildly amusing to downright hilarious and some of the most distinguished names in the industry turn up to show their support. They’re all in on the joke; not one of them looks the least bit uncomfortable or flustered. Considering the humiliation they are subjected to, that’s some ask. It’s also the mark of assured direction. A dozen vignettes each presented by a different director and, while some clearly resonate more than others, not one of them bring shame to the game.
We open with a blind-date from hell, moving swiftly into a fable about home-schooling taken a little too literally, a couple exploring new ways to express their eternal love for one another, two estranged lovebirds revisiting their relationship via tannoy, an advertisement for the latest gadget on the marketplace, a sabotaged round of speed dating for superheroes, the harsh truth behind vending machines, a young girl’s first step into womanhood followed rather responsibly by an advertisement for Tampax, an extra-special birthday surprise, astonishingly candid game of escalating truth or dare, a frank and honest basketball pep-talk and, midway through the credits, the tale of an interfering feline who stands between the course of true love. Sounds fairly innocuous right? Now I shall remove the filter.
We open with a guy with a ballbag swinging beneath his chin, moving swiftly into a spot of incest, a couple planning to introduce excrement into their bedroom agenda, two estranged fuck buddies defiling each other via tannoy, an advertisement for a naked life-sized gadget with a labial USB port, Batman describing the layout of Supergirl’s lady garden from beneath a table, a dash of child slavery, a young girl’s first heavy bleed in the presence of half the block followed rather terrifyingly by an advertisement for shark bait, two gang-banging leprechaun and a cock-hungry fairy, a blind kid getting his birthday candles blown out for shits and giggles while a breast is used to prepare Guacamole, a foot and a half long black mamba and some suspiciously hairy shoulders and, midway through the credits, a philandering feline who rams the slender end of a hairbrush into its anus before rampaging with a twelve bore shotgun. Sounds pretty fucked up right? Believe me, I haven’t even scratched the surface.
There are numerous peaks amongst the customary valleys associated with spoof. Kate Winslet’s horrified reaction to her awkward first kiss is priceless, Stephen Merchant and Halle Berry going under the knife in the name of setting a decent first impression utterly uproarious, and Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville getting gang-banged by pint-sized sprites could never get old. Don’t even get me started on Beezel; this depraved moggy would have Garfield turning in his litter tray and, moreover, would think nothing of licking his balls straight after either. You could dare yourself not to at least snicker and I’m positive that you’d fail miserably, even if you’re only laughing through sheer mortification. It all counts right? If you don’t so much as crack a grin then you’re either the tin man, lobotomized, or in need of a good fist fucking. Whatever your excuse, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Unless you genuinely find it dull in which case, sorry for any inconvenience.
Movie 43 is so far from perfect that it just isn’t funny. While it hits dead center with regularity, it misses rather spectacularly on a number of occasions. Name me a spoof with a 100-0 hit-to-miss ratio and I shall smack you upside your face with a kipper then flick your eyeball. Such a thing doesn’t exist; I love Amazon Women on The Moon dearly but even that missed the spot frequently. Watching this isn’t likely to make you more intelligent, neither is it likely to make you a better person. But, by the same token, it ain’t going to turn you into a racist or make incestuous relations with your mother any more appealing. It’s just a freaking movie; if you want emotional enrichment then watch The Cider House Rules or Seabiscuit. However, if you’ve spent all day being politically correct and feel like unwinding some, then there aren’t many more shamelessly entertaining ways of spending 94 minutes.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 7/10
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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