Shock comedy has its defenders and its detractors, but for a section of the movie-going public, it works well. Often it has to balance what the makers can get away with and the increasing tastes of the consumers. When done right, has the potential to launch the talent behind it to the heights of fame. But when a star-studded cast gets down and dirty with some of the grossest subject material available, it’s an investment that has more to lose than to gain. It takes a bold vision to carry out such a gamble and to come up with the concepts. In that case, Movie 43 has some of the boldest minds behind it.
In an attempt to get revenge on his tech-savvy younger brother, two stoner friends trick the boy into hunting down the shocking and elusive “Movie 43”. A film so controversial, it’s banned all over the globe and would require some deep-dark-web searching to unearth. The only problem is, the film is bogus, a ruse to leave the younger brother’s room unguarded so a prank can be played. In the younger brothers attempt to find the film, the trio come across the most shocking content ever committed to celluloid.
The sketches draw from a gamut of inspirations, high fantasy leprechaun kidnappings, to everyday romance pushed to the extremes. In doing so, it helps keep you on your toes, and more willing to accept what happens as opposed to poking holes in the logic of the scenes. The film is gag-centric and picks outlandish situations over their plot every time. Yet it still doesn’t feel random, having a method to the on-screen madness.
This sketch comedy has the ensemble cast to dream of with heartthrobs, starlets, a proverbial who’s who of Hollywood at the time. Usually, it’s for a charity appeal that causes the A-list to humiliate themselves like this. As such, the film feels more like a donation to shock comedy. One of the sketches about mother & father’s attempts to home-school brought back fond memories of the similar W.K.U.K. Sketch, but it just keeps going ramping up the awkwardness exponentially. The film isn’t for all audiences and each sketch tries its best to remind you of that fact. Nudity, excrement, gore and blood are joined with the gourmet of gross-out gags, that will keep glued to the screen with fascination.
In its attempts to push the envelope and to get celebrity guests to go in on the gag. Movie 43 has done something that’s impressive, an unapologetically bold and brash, shock and awe on the senses. For a film with a simple premise and a high sketch success rate, you’ll wonder why it took them 42 attempts to get to the formula right.
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