I’m 31 years old, for the record, and that is entirely too old to watch this movie and appreciate it to the fullest that its creators likely want it to be appreciated. Oh sure, the movie is rated R, and for good reason. It is crass and crude, offensive, often embarrassingly juvenile, filled with nudity and racially insensitive jokes and just generally overflowing with the sort of humor that is the precise opposite of “tasteful.”
In other words, had I seen “Movie 43” when I was about 13 or 14 years old, I likely would have deemed it one of the funniest things on the planet and would have spent countless hours quoting it with buddies and laughing about it until our sides hurt after we managed to sneak watching it on cable one night.
If nothing else, I have to at least give producer Peter Farrelly credit. It’s a bold move to theatrically release a movie in the vein and spirit of something like “The Kentucky Fried Movie” in today’s cinematic climate. If you somehow missed that gem of ribald silliness, it’s a loosely connected series of sketches that essentially try (and often succeed) to be as offensive and absurd as possible.
“Movie 43” wants to follow in that film’s irreverent footsteps but can’t ever quite get there.
Which isn’t to say that “The Kentucky Fried Movie” was some sort of comedic masterpiece (although, I’m sure someone somewhere has tried, perhaps even successfully, to make that case). Rather, “Movie 43” just doesn’t quite have that sort of hidden spark that its spiritual predecessor had.
But, as I said, it’s certainly not for a lack of trying.
Mostly I want to know what sort of dirt that Farrelly has on all of the big-name movie stars who showed up for this thing. Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Greg Kinnear, Halle Berry, Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Terrence Howard, Naomi Watts, Liev Scrheiber. Either Farrell convinced these guys that “Movie 43” would never, ever see the light of day or he’s got some serious dirt on each of them. Or these celebrities and movie stars have far dirtier senses of humor than I would have imagined.
Right off the bat you will know whether you will find “Movie 43” funny in any way, shape, form or fashion. If the idea of Kate Winslet staring in disgust, awe and horror as she wonders if she’s going insane because no one else seems to either notice or acknowledge Jackman’s…condition is something that makes you laugh, even in a guilty sort of way, then “Movie 43” will be enjoyable on at least some level.
Me? I cannot tell a lie. I laughed. Sometimes against my better judgment. Sometimes because it was just so silly and absurd and done in a way that you knew everyone involved was laughing their heads off in between takes. Sometimes because I just couldn’t help it.
I know I give a hard time to a lot of comedies, and for good reason. Some comedies just try too hard or pretend the humor contained within is somehow bigger or more clever than it actually is. “Movie 43” succeeds on some level if only because it seems to fully acknowledge just how juvenile and crass and utterly silly it all is.
Yes, the barrage of it all can be a bit numbing and even overbearing. Yet I still couldn’t help but laugh here and there. In particular, the bit where Schreiber and Watts play parents who want to give their homeschooled son “the full high school experience” so they make fun of him in the shower, reject him from coming in the house when they throw wild parties and even make him awkwardly kiss his mother for his first kiss was just so ridiculous and yet still felt kind of clever in an absurdly awkward way. Or when Batman (Jason Sudekis) keeps acting like a huge jerk to Robin (Justin Long) who’s attending a speed dating session.
It’s lowbrow stuff (though those two are extremely tame compared to the majority of the sketches) but it still…I dunno. Sue me. It’s funny. I laughed. I felt bad (sometimes outright ashamed) about laughing at some of it, but there you go.
That said, those expecting a letter grade on this thing need to look elsewhere. I wouldn’t even begin to know what grade to give this, assuming one can even really grade it to begin with.