Movie 43-- A-list cast can’t save shallow shocksploit
Review by Kam Williams
Movie 43 is a shallow shocksploitation flick which revels in raunchy lowbrow humor. What is supposed to elevate this terminally-crude comedy above your typical bottom-feeder is its A-list cast topped by Academy Award-winners Halle Berry and Kate Winslet, as well as Oscar-nominees Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard.
However, the picture fails miserably in this regard, as it merely ends-up dragging the entire ensemble into the mud. This scatterplot sketch flick features a dozen directors, including Peter Farrelly (There's Something about Mary), Brett Ratner (Rush Hour trilogy), Bob Odenkirk (The Brothers Solomon), to name a few.
The film is essentially a series of skits being pitched by a writer (Dennis Quaid) to a skeptical Hollywood producer (Greg Kinnear). After Charlie sets up each scene, the screen cuts away to an enactment of a fully fleshed-out production of his idea.
For example, the first vignette, "The Catch," revolves around a socialite named Beth's (Winslet) blind date from Hell with Davis (Jackman), a successful, eligible bachelor with a distracting drawback, namely, a hairy scrotum hanging from his neck in place of an Adam's apple. The sight gag serves as fodder for a running joke since Beth, inexplicably, is the only person in the restaurant able to see the deformity.
So, while Davis looks perfectly normal to everybody else, the poor woman finds herself forced to suffer such indignities as posing for a picture with sweaty gonads in her face. The subject matter goes from gross-out fare to incest and pedophilia in the next segment, "Homeschooled," which is about a mother's (Watts) taking her son's (Jeremy Allen White) virginity. Worse, the 13 year-old's perverted dad (Liev Schreiber) comes on to the kid, too.
Halle Berry's breasts co-star in "Truth or Dare," another bit about a blind date. In this tacky tableau, her character first exposes herself after accepting a challenge to make guacamole with her bosom. The oversexed exhibitionist bares her gargantuan mammaries again at the end of the evening, even though she's supposedly not attracted to Asian men.
Dating is also the theme of "Super Hero Speed Dating" where Batman's (Jason Sudeikis) sidekick Robin (Justin Long) attempts to charm both Super Girl (Kristen Bell) and Wonder Woman (Leslie Bibb). And "Middleschool Date" milks its mean-spirited mirth from a 7th grader's (Chloe Moretz) being mercilessly teased about getting her first menstrual period while sharing a kiss with a classmate (Jimmy Bennett) she has a crush on.
More creepy than comical, Movie 43 represents a disgusting, cinematic descent into depravity destined to leave its victims, sitting slack-jawed and speechless in stunned disbelief.
Poor (0 stars)
Rated R for violence, drug use, pervasive profanity, graphic sexuality, frontal nudity, crude humor and coarse dialogue.
Running time: 90 minutes
Distributor: Relativity Media
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