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Jackman's balls only saving grace of absurd 'Movie 43'

Relativity

By Andrew McClure, Daily Arts Writer
Published January 28, 2013

Seldom does a movie precede itself with solely B-movie trailers. Seldom does a movie leave viewers with a mute car ride home, devoid of any reflective discourse. Parallel with this trend, seldom does a movie equate itself to “SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2” in terms of cognitive effort. Seldom should we — or any other species — witness the self-laughing, entirely unfunny cinematic mistake that is “Movie 43.” It doesn’t even qualify for the “Let’s sneak into another flick for free” list. Yikes.

Turns out, the framework of “43” had more laugh-factory potential than its constituent parts. It’s episodic: Picture an egregious “SNL,” full of 10-minute bits, each more irrelevant than the next. But it’s not just any “SNL”; it’s one with multiple star hosts. Except they’re all having a “tough crowd” sort of night. Dennis Quaid (“The Big Easy”), Greg Kinnear (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Common (“American Gangster”), Emma Stone (“Zombieland”), among other somewhat esteemed Hollywood regulars, take a collective shit on the chest of their unlucky viewers — funny, because shitting on one’s chest captures the miniature storyline of one episode. And it was actually less pitiful than most of its surrounding players.

A plot synopsis attempt would be futile, but here’s the gist: Hugh Jackman (“Les Miserables”) has bulging balls hanging from his neck like a pendulum swing, Naomi Watts (“The Impossible”) plays a homeschooling mom who insists on giving her son his first kiss, Richard Gere (“Arbitrage”) innovates the iBabe (life-size nude broad for randy adolescents), and Jason Sudeikis (“Horrible Bosses”) and Justin Long (“Drag Me to Hell”) speed-date as Batman and Robin. “43” succeeds in interesting ways, like alternately sucking then taking a breather from sucking.

Liars will claim they never laughed. Bigger liars will claim they laughed more than 12 times. And the biggest liars will claim less than 75-percent of said laughs stemmed from Jackman’s testicular wattle. It was funny, but the cheapest breed of funny, like something found in “Dumb and Dumber” or “Happy Gilmore,” when cartoonish sound effects and slapsticks to the face dominate the screen.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not nearly as good as described above.

Absurdity in farce can really work — just look at “Scary Movie” and “Not Another Teen Movie” as semi-recent examples. But farce still requires something essential: a scripted film to work with. Rather, “43” is an overdosed marathon of the arbitrary, from tits and blood to uncool vulgarity and livid leprechauns. It just never feels right, or funny or rightly funny.

Seldom do critics and genre junkies share a wavelength. With “43,” unlike other justifiable bad films, it’s actually both hip and indie to hate this. Not even audacious pundits exist for “43” — you know, the guys who fight tooth and nail to defend genuinely bad movies. Why, because people work in seconds. And this shitshow wastes approximately 5,400 of them. Dumb going in, dumber coming out. Like meth — without the high.

The best question to ask is a profound one: How do these nightmares get green-lit? Whoever green-lights must wipe his ass with green kryptonite.

A final scene, a highlight in an attempt to a humor-void try, stages Terrence Howard as he inspires his high-school hoops team in the locker room pregame. “You’re black! They’re white! Dribble up the court with that foot-and-a-half long dick!”

That’s precisely what “43” is: something that has all the makings to satisfy a blue whale. Unfortunately for the creators, humans aren’t blue whales, and most prefer a more modest codpiece. See Dr. 90210 and we’ll chat later. Or not.