Director: Peter John Farrelly and eleven others
Screenwriters: Steve Baker and eight others
Runtime: 98 mins.
Australian release date: 7 February 2013
Previewed at: St George Open Air Cinema, Sydney, on 27 January 2013
Movie 43 is directed by no less than twelve directors and written by nine screenwriters and has been cobbled together by Peter John Farrelly, who usually works with his brother Bobby. It features twelve unrelated short stories that all rattle the cage of political correctness. The most bewildering fact about this film is that the stellar cast, which includes Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Richard Gere, Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, Uma Thurman, Liev Schreiber, Gerard Butler, et al, ever agreed to their roles after viewing their scripts and the level of the humour in them. Was it made to fulfil a studio contract? Was it a bet?
Movie 43 opens with screenwriter Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid) frantically pitching his script ideas to studio executive Griffin Schraeder (Greg Kinnear). The first story is a blind date between Beth (Kate Winslet) and Davis (Hugh Jackman). The fact that Davis has a shaven, over-sized scrotum attached to his chin which everyone else seems to ignore, makes for a rather squeamish and nauseating outing for Beth. Somehow Davis appears to be equally unaware of his embarrassing protrusion. What on earth made Jackman want to tackle (oh dear, pardon the pun) such a role?
This sets the tone for the rest of the film, which nosedives into scatological, mindless humour. It includes crude vignettes about pubescent menstruation, a superhero dating a superwoman with a giant vagina, a couple who are determined to give their son a first-hand experience of his first kiss and sexual advance, a couple on a date playing ‘Truth or Dare’ who end up goading each other into having extreme plastic surgery and having a penis tattooed on your cheek, and so on. Get the picture?
If grossness is the main aim of this film, then it succeeds. To me, there is only one vignette which stands out as comical; it portrays a group of kids living in a dispensing machine, handing out its contents. I don’t think I’ll ever use an ATM again without thinking about it! And there are a couple of other skits that are mildly amusing but, given its star wattage and the behind the scenes talent, there just aren’t enough funny moments in this turkey.
Movie 43 is certainly not for everyone and very few will like it, but if you are in the mood for a completely weird experience at the movies and don’t mind tossing your money down the drain, then it may be for you. But don’t say you weren’t warned: this goes much further down the gutter than its predecessors of the same genre. What were these people thinking?