I have been waiting to watch Movie 43 for the better part of 2013, because I wanted to be in the right mood to appreciate intentionally offensive comedy, believing that if I entered with a fitting attitude, I would be more likely to find the humor interesting.
For a while I almost did. A few of the skits are occasionally funny, partially because the actors take the grotesquery somewhat seriously. Kieran Culkin and Emma Stone present a repulsively amusing scene of public dirty talk and insults. Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet give us a terrible first date, and Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber are fairly interesting as abusive parents.
Even these scenes are not precisely good, though.
And Movie 43 cannot maintain their limited energy.
In the end, perhaps the movie’s biggest problem is that it isn’t all that offensive, doesn’t push boundaries all that far and isn’t the least bit clever. For most of its running time, it’s just stale.
Not that that is Movie 43’s only flaw, of course. There are many more than that. It’s just that this flick is so bad at shocking its viewer, as it intends, that I don’t care enough to parse out the flaws, to analyze its condition.
I will say this: breaking the fourth wall at the end, negating any usefulness of the Kinnear/Quaid framing strategy is some of the worst filmmaking I have ever seen.
Movie 43 is, in other words, just terrible, so terrible that I find I don’t care about it. It isn’t even valuable enough to make me hate it. I nothing it. That might be a bigger insult than calling it putrid.