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January 26, 2013 | 11:26 a.m. CST
If the trailer for Movie 43 seems to have no plot, it’s because the movie itself doesn’t have much of one either.
The film loosely follows Dennis Quaid as a desperate man attempting to sell a movie idea to an agent. His various plans are shown throughout the movie as a series of short segments. At one point he decides to include commercials. It’s a play within a play within a play in a way Shakespeare never intended.Related Movie
At their best, the disjointed shorts are somewhat reminiscent of Saturday Night Live sketches or comic YouTube videos on a Hollywood budget. At their worst, they leave the viewer wishing to reclaim the time spent watching this unorganized mess.
One of the better segments, “Homeschooled,” features Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber as parents doing their best to give their homeschooled son the full experience of the awkward high school years, complete with bullying and a cringe-worthy first kiss. “Super Hero Speed Dating” centers on Robin (Justin Long) thwarted in his search for love by an overbearing Batman (Jason Sudeikis). Various other DC Comics characters make appearances. These two segments are the clear highlights of the film.
Some shorts had their funny moments, but then there were those that were just hard to watch, including Gerard Butler as a violent leprechaun and the usually perfect Emma Stone fighting with her ex at a grocery store. The short where Anna Faris makes an unusual request of her boyfriend is put-the-popcorn-down gross. “The Catch” with Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet is absolutely absurd (okay, he has testicles on his neck) but worth creating for Winslet’s facial expressions alone.
Despite the few laughs the film does admittedly provide, the movie relies heavily on bathroom humor, which just seems lazy considering the number of competent stars involved. It also jumps abruptly from scene to scene, which is confusing and gives the feel of a movie that hasn’t been edited. After a brief set of credits and a blooper reel, there’s a completely unrelated scene that pits Elizabeth Banks against a fiendish cartoon cat, and that’s how the movie ends.
There were enough amusing one-liners to keep an audience interested, but this movie would be more enjoyable with a fast-forward option. The bad scenes regrettably overwhelm the good.