Dave’s 3-Word Review
Absurd but Satirical
Parodies are one thing, comedies are another, but sketch comedy is a whole new ballpark in the world of film. I’m talking about something comparable to Saturday Night Live or MadTV. The nice thing about sketch comedy is that the material can really be done well if the writing is perfect…but at the same time it can be really bad. While Movie 43 has what it takes to have great material, it falters in two areas: first of all, not everyone can catch deep satirical meanings, second of all, if the filmmakers meant there to be a hidden message, it will be much harder to grasp by making the skits repulsive.
Most people aren’t even aware that there is a plot to this movie because truthfully, the plot is awful. To give you a quick idea of what the movie is actually about, it’s about three adolescent kids looking for a movie called Movie 43. This movie is supposed to be so secretive and illegal it will make your bodily functions shut down. Though, if you can successfully get through it, you will be awarded graciously beyond your wildest dreams. In order to find this mystical movie, these kids have to go through the trials of watching the most absurd skits known to man.
The plot really isn’t important for the film; it is just put in there to glue everything together. It had to feel like a movie too. The plot is primarily bonkers because the kids clearly made up Movie 43, and all of a sudden, it exists, as if these kids have the ability to create anything at the mere mention of its existence. There are more things that happen throughout the plot to support that theory. The plot part really was stupid, but it was enough for the movie to have an argument that it is a movie, and not a sketch TV program…a weak argument, but an argument nonetheless.
The real reason people went to see the film was for the skits and for the huge ensemble cast. Usually, they typically already heard about how absurd it was, and went to see it anyway. Why? The idea of seeing actors escape from their typecast and zone of comfort is not a new one. Heck, well-known actors and celebrities can be seen making fun of themselves in any of the Scary Movie films. There is something compelling about seeing celebrities do stupid things, and it’s not always easily defined. So how stupid were the acts that these actors did? Stupid enough for you to believe the writers were on some kind of drug when the pen was in hand.
Here’s what most people are not going to catch while watching, because it simply won’t matter. The skits were mostly satirical, based on issues that are actually important, but they are hidden under such absurdity and offensive material that it won’t have the effect that satires are usually accompanied with. I won’t go through each and every skit, because that would be spoilery, instead I’ll tell you what some of the skits were really about, or at least inspired by.
One skit nodded to the fact that it is in our human nature to judge people, no matter how hard we try not to…sometimes it’s unavoidable. Another skit alluded to people’s honest opinion on homeschooling, and how closed-minded and sheltered most people think homeschool kids tend to be. Then there is the whole idea that people do crazy things when they are in love (as said by Hercules), that to the general public seem psychologically insane. One important one is the stretch of entertainment values, how far we are willing to go. The unlimited willingness of Apple’s business practices.
Of course, the whole thing wasn’t satirical either, there were parodies on the “Don’t Click” red button, Batman, specific commercials (expanding on how ridiculous some are, seemingly unrelated to what the commercial is really about). There was random things here and there that didn’t seem to do with anything at all as well. The only thing that really seemed consistent was the fact that the entire movie was extremely offensive.
The offense nature was funny here and there, granted, but it loses the satirical edge that the movie could have had. Even though the skits are still based on important things, you can’t really tell because the offense material drowns it out. If that sounds fine to you, then check it out.
The writing came from a smart place, and it was loads better with the creativity then Saturday Night Live has been in years, and they could benefit greatly if they hire the writers of Movie 43 onto their writing staff. Sure, they would have to tone down a lot of the obscene things for national television, but they actually have promise. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see that promise for most people.
Movie 43 comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on June 18, check it out if you dare!