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Movie 43: Outrageous Edition Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Review

Movie 43 (2013) movie poster Movie 43

Theatrical Release: January 25, 2013 / Running Time: 94 Minutes (Theatrical), 98 Minutes (Alternate) / Rating: R, Unrated

Directors: Peter Farrelly (2 segments & framework), Steven Brill (2 segments & alternate cut framework), Will Graham, Steve Carr, Griffin Dunne, James Duffy, Jonathan Van Tulleken, Patrik Forsberg, Elizabeth Banks, Brett Ratner, Rusty Cundieff / Writers: Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosensko (6 segment screenplays & both frameworks); Ricky Blitt, Will Graham, Jack Kukoda, Matthew Portenoy, Will Carlough, Jonathan Van Tulleken, Patrik Forsberg, Olle Sarri, Elizabeth Shapiro, Jacob Fleisher, Greg Pritikin, James Gunn (1 segment screenplay each); Claes Kjellström, Jonas Wittenmark, Tobias Carlson (2 segment stories); Bill O'Malley (1 segment story)

Cast: Dennis Quaid (Charlie Wessler), Greg Kinnear (Griffin Schraeder), Common (Bob Mone), Charlie Saxton (Jay), Will Sasso (Jerry), Seth MacFarlane (Seth MacFarlane), Mike Meldman (Mike Meldman), Hugh Jackman (Davis), Kate Winslet (Beth), Jeremy Allen White (Kevin Miller), Liev Schreiber (Robert Miller), Naomi Watts (Samantha Miller), Anna Faris (Vanessa), Chris Pratt (Jason), JB Smoove (Larry), Jarrad Paul (Bill), Kieran Culkin (Neil), Emma Stone (Veronica), Cathy Cliften (iBabe #1), Justin Long (Fake Robin), Jason Sudeikis (Fake Batman), Uma Thurman (Fake Lois Lane), Bobby Cannavale (Fake Superman), Kristen Bell (Fake Supergirl), John Hodgman (Fake Penguin), Leslie Bibb (Fake Wonder Woman), Will Carlough (Fake Riddler), Phil Crowley (Narrator), Richard Gere (Boss), Kate Bosworth (Arlene), Jack McBrayer (Brian), Aasif Mandvi (Robert), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Mikey), Chloë Grace Moretz (Amanda), Patrick Warburton (Dad), Jimmy Bennett (Nathan), Matt Walsh (Amanda's Dad), Gerard Butler (Leprechaun 1 & 2), Seann William Scott (Brian), Johnny Knoxville (Pete), Esti Ginzburg (Fairy), Halle Berry (Emily), Stephen Merchant (Donald), Sayed Badreya (Large Man), Nicole Elizabeth Polizzi (Snooki), Terrence Howard (Coach Jackson), Aaron Jennings (Anthony), Jared Dudley (Moses), Corey Wayne Brewer (Wallace), Larry Eugene Sanders II (Bishop), Jay Ellis (Lucious), Elizabeth Banks (Amy), Josh Duhamel (Anson)

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Movie 43 challenges the notion that films succeed on the basis of their stars. This comedy boasts one of the most impressive assemblies of star power imaginable. The cast includes Oscar winners (Kate Winslet, Halle Berry) and nominees (Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Terrence Howard), young talent (Emma Stone, Chloë Grace Moretz), old talent (Richard Gere),
and some actors who perhaps haven't been stars in a few years (Kate Bosworth, Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott). So deep is the cast that the DVD and Blu-ray cover features names and photos of twenty actors and still has to leave off a few names that adorned the poster. And even that excluded some prominently featured actors like Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Common, Chris Pratt, and Seth MacFarlane.

Despite all of that marketable talent and the wide net of awareness it should have cast, Movie 43 grossed a pathetic $8.8 million at the domestic box office last winter, where it was released to just over 2,000 theaters. Of course, it's tough to attribute the failings purely to what one-sheets billed "The Biggest Cast Ever Assembled." There were its designs as an anthology film and an R-rated black comedy, neither of which has a reputation for commercial drawing power. There was that meaningless, instantly forgettable title. And there was the near-unanimous disdain expressed by critics, many of whom awarded it zero stars and one of whom (Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper) declared it "the Citizen Kane of awful." Valentine's Day, this was not, although the blow of its flopping was cushioned by the fact that the budget was a surprisingly modest $6 million.

Charles B. Wessler, a producer of most Farrelly Brothers comedies from Dumb & Dumber through The Three Stooges, conceived this film as the modern equivalent of 1977's hit anthology The Kentucky Fried Movie. Despite rounding up teams seasoned in outrageous comic cinema (most of whom would eventually bow out), Wessler's project faced resistance, but after scaring off other studios, it was picked up in 2009 by fledgling distributor Relativity Media largely on the basis of the one Jackman-Winslet short already shot.

Griffin (Greg Kinnear) turns the gun Charlie (Dennis Quaid) pointed at him on his boss in a late stretch of frame story. Beth (Kate Winslet) can no longer ignore the balls dangling from her blind date's neck.

Movie 43 evolved from the three-segment production it was conceived as into a 14-short anthology. Eighteen writers and eleven directors receive credit on a film that shot around actors' schedules over the course of three years.

Easily claiming the most screentime and yet the least promotion is a frame story which finds a long out-of-work screenwriter (Quaid) pitching a movie executive (Kinnear) a project that is "a smart movie with heart, sort of like The Help." The inaccurately-described movie plays out as it is pitched, beginning with the distribution-securing segment that finds a woman (Winslet) going on a blind date with what seems to be the perfect guy (Jackman), save for the pair of testicles dangling from his neck that he and everyone else seem oblivious to. That sets a tone and a low bar for the film. Maybe it's just the novelty of seeing serious actors at the heights of their career playing straight around a realistic scrotum prosthetic, but this actually proves to be the film's best sequence.

Next, we get two real-life partnerships sharing the embarrassment of weak ideas poorly executed. Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber play the Millers, a couple ensuring their teenaged son (Jeremy Allen White) gets a complete, authentic high school experience via their brutal home schooling. Then, Chris Pratt plays a man ready to propose to his girlfriend (Anna Faris), but she instead proposes that they take their relationship to the next level by him "pooping" on her. At a barbecue, a friend (J.B. Smoove) encourages the man to prepare for the deed with Mexican food and a laxative ("poop Viagra") to enhance his performance in a bit that's full of fecal imagery.

Veronica (Emma Stone) catches up with her grocer ex, to the ears of all shoppers. Kristen Bell is Supergirl to Justin Long's Robin in Superhero Speed Dating.

Next in a bit supposedly "for the whole family", young exes (Emma Stone and Kieran Culkin) broadcast their dirty laundry to an entire supermarket, whose shoppers encourage them to reunite. The first of the film's mock commercials advertises "iBabe",
a new music player that resembles a fully naked woman. Though that sounds like the product of a 13-year-old boy's immature imagination (and early '90s vernacular), the film returns to it for a scene in which the company's board (which includes Bosworth, Gere, Aasif Mandvi, and Jack McBrayer) learns that young men exploring the iBabe's vaginal vent have been suffering grave consequences.

In a contender for the film's worst segment and one that will most disgust superhero enthusiasts, Batman (Jason Sudeikis) encroaches upon Robin's (Justin Long) speed dates with Lois Lane (Uma Thurman) and Supergirl (Kristen Bill), while assessing a cafe's bomb threat and fending off a scorned Wonder Woman (Leslie Bibb). Superman (Bobby Cannavale) and Penguin (John Hodgman) also feature in this vulgar bit.

The second fake commercial is a black & white public service announcement defending the young children inside berated machines. Then comes the only segment written and directed by women, which might be the one most offensive to that gender. In it, a 7th grade girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) gets her messy first period, which freaks out all the men around her, including her boyfriend's older brother (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and his father (Patrick Warburton). This segues into a short final commercial promoting Tampax via Jaws.

In director Brett Ratner's contribution, as a peace offering, a man (Johnny Knoxville) gives his disgruntled roommate (Seann William Scott) a leprechaun (Gerard Butler's face on a dwarf's body), but the salty, ball-obsessed, tied-up little guy is reluctant to hand over a pot of gold.

A nerdy man (Stephen Merchant) and a pretty woman (Halle Berry) connect on a first date via Match.com at a Mexican restaurant and rather than dabbling in the usual talk, they engage in a Truth or Dare game that quickly escalates. Directed by Peter Farrelly (whose brother somehow avoids this project, save for an uncredited self-cameo) and employing prosthetic breasts, thinking back on this dumb sequence probably cost the film some half-stars.

The next one, titled Victor's Glory, isn't any better. With an aged, grainy look, it tells us the story of a 1959 all-black basketball team who defied odds and prejudices to destroy their opponents just as their coach (Terrence Howard) said they would. Humorlessly exploiting stereotypes, this racist segment is the film's ugliest portion.

Amanda (Chloë Grace Moretz) has her first period in a house full of men. Coach Jackson (Terrence Howard) motivates his basketball players with racial stereotypes in "Victor's Glory."

We check back in with Quaid and Kinnear's characters throughout the movie, the screenwriter growing more desperate and threatening while the executive coming to be more disturbed by his boss' (Common) demeaning treatment. End credits begin rolling just 77 minutes in, but one final sequence is placed within them. It involves a woman (Elizabeth Banks) who is disturbed by her boyfriend's (Josh Duhamel) possessive animated cat.

Full of Farrelly Brothers alumni (especially Hall Pass and Three Stooges cast members), Movie 43 is obviously very light on class and taste. It's also short on wit and laughs. I guess reviewing all the movies I can has desensitized me, but I wasn't too shocked by this film given an Outrageous Edition moniker on Blu-ray. Yes, crude sexual and scatological content abounds and while that is usually guaranteed to draw a reaction in crowded theaters, it seems pretty pitiful from a living room couch.

Even taking into account the multi-year production, the quick nature of the work, and ordinary career lulls, one wonders how so many popular, accomplished, and in demand actors signed onto this, including those you don't typically see going for broad laughs, like Gere, Watts, Winslet, and Moretz. I suspect that the Farrelly name and by extension Wessler's carry some clout, but doubtfully enough to warrant trust and faith in writing so infantile. The upside to the film's commercial struggles is that barely one million people saw this in North American theaters and only another three million or so outside the US. That's a very small part of the population and even of the moviegoing public who know and might care about this misfired experiment, making it a faint, soon forgotten blemish on the résumés of all involved. The ice cold reception also ensures that it will probably be another 35 years (at least) before someone else tries to make a raunchy anthology full of celebrities.

Now available to own, Movie 43's Fox-distributed Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy includes both the R-rated theatrical cut and an unrated "Alternate Cut" on the Blu-ray. The alternate cut runs four minutes longer, but it is significantly different, because it changes the movie pitch framework to a couple of aspiring viral video teenagers (Adam Cagley and Mark L. Young) who dupe a hacker/prankster younger brother (Devin Eash) into watching shorts in search of the banned "Movie 43" online while they infect his own computer. This thread is directed by Steven Brill and features Fisher Stevens as an endangered foreign hacker and Beth Littleford as the kids' mom. The design originally conceived and abandoned, it's less logical, more teen-oriented, and quite a bit worse than the Quaid/Kinnear material, creating more jarring transitions and a doomsday finale. On the plus side, using chapter stops and a bit of rewinding, you can easily see the alternate cut's content without having to rewatch all the shorts too.

Movie 43: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

1.78:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Extras Not Subtitled; DVD Closed Captioned
Release Date: June 18, 2013 Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (1 BD-50 & 1 DVD-9)
Eco-Friendly Blue Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on DVD ($29.98 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video


While Movie 43's Blu-ray transfer doesn't exhibit any problems, its visuals aren't always the best, with certain sequences yielding splotchy skin and subpar lighting and much of the film darker than usual. Still, the 1.78:1 picture supplies the detail and sharpness it should. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio wastes no time before making an impression, grabbing your attention with rumbling studio logos. It's fine thereafter though rarely notable.

Julianne Moore and Tony Shalhoub play a couple looking for their daughter (or not) in the deleted segment "Find Our Daughter." Movie 43's theatrical trailer cops to inappropriateness.


Beyond the alternate cut, Movie 43's biggest bonus feature is Find Our Daughter (4:45), a short shot for the film but not used. As you can imagine, something deemed unworthy for inclusion in this film isn't great. It stars Julianne Moore and Tony Shalhoub as a married couple consulting with an off-camera private eye (voiced by the segment's writer-director Bob Odenkirk)

to help find their breast-flashing teenage daughter (Jordanna Taylor). It's a little strange, but seemingly not as strange as Odenkirk's The Necrophiliac, a segment starring Anton Yelchin as a morgue employee (with an obvious predilection) that was cut from the film and isn't even preserved here.

Movie 43's theatrical trailer (2:23) is preserved and though it lacks a red band, its profanity and nudity clearly would have required one to be shown in theaters. It's noteworthy for including a glimpse of the aforementioned cut Necrophiliac.

The DVD included in this combo pack is not the same one sold on its own, but it would appear to be better. Neither has any extras aside from the combo pack's iTunes format digital copy.

Both discs open with trailers for The Heat, The Blu-ray Experience, and 21 & Over. The Sneak Peek sections hold the same three and add The Oranges' trailer.

The menu is a straightforward screen-filling montage of clips with listings placed over them. The Blu-ray doesn't support bookmarks, nor does it resume playback like a typical Fox BD.

A snug slipcover tops the eco-friendly keepcase and holds an insert for your transferrable digital copy. Sorry, stream fans, there's no UltraViolet included here.

A woman (Elizabeth Banks) interrupts a child's birthday party to confront her boyfriend's (Josh Duhamel) animated cat Beezel in the end credits segment.


While I can't muster the amount of hatred my fellow critics summoned for Movie 43, I also can't challenge their assertion that this anthology comedy is a crude, unfunny film unworthy of its cast's talent and, even more so, of your time.

The Blu-ray combo pack isn't bad. Though light on special features, it is quite neat to see the considerably different teenager hacker framework evidently originally conceived for the film and an unused short. You could probably find a better movie browsing Redbox blindfolded, but if you strongly disagree, this set should satisfy your comedy tastes.

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Reviewed June 21, 2013.

Text copyright 2013 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2013 Relativity Media, Rogue, Virgin, Greenestreet Films, Charles B. Wessler Entertainment, and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
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