Thirteen directors team up with an eclectic mass of all-star actors and actresses in this hefty collection of R-rated comedic shorts. Cast includes Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman, Uma Thurman, Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Richard Gere, Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Chloë Grace Moretz and Stephen Merchant. Now playing nationwide.
"Once you see it, you can't unsee it." - goes the tagline. How ominously those words now ring in my head.
I'm all for a film committed to bad taste humour, and with this effort positioning itself as a crude takedown of saccharine anthology comedies like Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve, I was quietly rooting for Movie 43 heading in.
But oh boy is this movie terrible.
American sketch comedy has rarely travelled well (ever tried watching an episode of Saturday Night Live? It's brutal.), and Movie 43 ranks down there with the worst of its kind. Every set-up here has one (generally tired) joke at its core and literally nothing else.
So with any present novel value having worn off within three seconds of the beginning of each ten minute segment, that's a lot of dead air.
And as if the criminal dearth of even the lowest forms of wit weren't enough, Movie 43 has the cheek to evoke cult anthology comedy classics like Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) and Amazon Women On the Moon (1987). Not exactly all-out laugh riots themselves, they both have enough zip to appear transcendent next to this film.
If I had to pick the segment I hated the least, it would probably be the nicely odd supermarket romance between Kieran Culkin and Emma Stone. But nobody among the star-studded cast emerges with their dignity intact.
Here's a suggested replacement tagline, taken from David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly:
"Be afraid. Be very afraid."