Maybe you've heard about Movie 43 by now. It's been impossible for me to avoid because of all the press surrounding it. That bastion of conglomerated internet information, Wikipedia, puts a blurb from Roger Ebert's old sparring partner Richard Roeper right up top, "The Citizen Kane of awful." So even casual research into this film means running into a plethora of negative reviews loaded with the kind of hyperbole you see in that quote.
Like another old saying goes, "Don't buy the hype." Calling Movie 43 the Citizen Kane of bad movies implies that there are aspects of the film worth remembering or that some piece of it goes beyond awfulness into some kind of horrible transcendent state. There isn't anything in Movie 43 that's worth the space in your brain it would take to pull up memories. It's as disposable as it's framing device, just a bunch of idiots trying to make it big on Youtube and wondering why they taste shame instead.
Movie 43 is an anthology film of sorts. There are two versions, differing only by the connecting thread. Either it has to due with two idiots hurting themselves for internet fame, being humiliated by a child, and then trying to get revenge on him by looking for a film that doesn't exist or a screenwriter and movie executive doing the same thing. Either the kids are looking up progressively worse movies or a screenwriter is pitching The Aristocrats joke repeatedly. For full disclosure, I watched the one with the idiot kids, because I've already seen The Aristocrats and have had enough of watching great comedians beat a horse to death.
Instead, I got a bunch of respected, charismatic performers doing the same. "Beating" may seem a descriptor too apt to use here considering how many of these stories involve masturbation or semen, but I plan on putting more thought into this review than any five seconds of the film.
Movie 43 is awful. It's not transcendentally awful, just lazy awful. The film seems to think that sex jokes are the start and stop of comedy. All but one of the sketches involves an embarrassing sexual quirk or physical attribute as the basis of every joke or the culmination of them. I'd call it offensive but that would imply that any of the shorts have the capability of expressing a self-reflection that might call for a rewrite and, if the stars align, something funny. That doesn't happen.
Hugh Jackman has testicles on his throat and no one realizes it but his date, Kate Winslet. There, that's the joke. I've just saved you six minutes you'll never get back, and that's one sketch out of many with thought processes I can't even start to contemplate. When Jackman's neck-balls retract because he's sitting under a vent, are men sitting at home thinking "Hah hah! My testicles do that when they're cold!" while women think "Hah hah! I've watch testicles retract like that when men get cold?" I doubt that's what's happening.
Really, what's the comedic philosophy here? In a later short, possibly the most disgusting of the lot, Chole Moretz plays a girl getting her period for the first time while her boyfriend, his brother, father, and her own father come and crack clueless jokes. The most disassociated from the short, and the least disgusting, is when her dad says "What kind of sick family squishes a large tomato on my daughter's pants." Compared to the humiliation all the other men try to put her through before his arrival that statement has a surreal cluelessness about a father's pain to his daughter that could be funny in a dark comedy.
It's a testament to just how bad this film is that none of the directors or screenwriters make a mark distinctive of one another. Some of them have made great films, like James Gunn did with Super, but they all merge together in the same pool of horrible sex scenarios. So while the styles bleed together the performers all look like they've had the worst experience of their lives. Even the talented comedians of the lot, like Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Jason Sudekis, can't do anything with this crap.
To leave you on a positive note, I almost smiled twice. Once when John Hodgman said "My non-monocled eye" while getting attacked and dressed as The Penguin. The other when a public service ad revealed all machines are operated by children.
That's the extent of my goodwill here. I hope no one associated with this film does anything like this again. It's not as though anyone is likely to remember anyway.