Earlier this week, the first photos for the ensemble comedy Movie 43 went online, showing us Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, Anna Faris, and many more famous faces goofing off in a series of outrageous skits. And now that we’ve seen the red-band trailer, this movie looks like a more meta version of The Aristocrats: These celebrities, usually so buttoned up and classy, go balls to the wall to offend us as much as possible. In many ways, they seem to be playing variations on themselves: Anna teams up with husband Chris Pratt for a scene where she asks him to poop on her, just as Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber poke fun at their parenting skills in another sequence. You get the sense that each writer/director team rounded up a group of celebrities who were already friends or in a relationship and just had them riff off each other.
Unfortunately, the results aren’t always funny. Like, I was psyched to see that our main girl crush Emma Stone does a bit — probably from her pre-Spider-Man days, judging by her red hair — with Kieran Culkin. But when it’s the two of them arguing over who gave the other HPV, it just falls flat. Watching Emma defend herself for blowing a hobo, by saying, “He was a wizard”… ugh, I’m cringing just watching it. I feel so sorry for her, because that girl is comedy gold when she’s imitating internet .gifs. She can do — and has done — so much better than something like this. I feel like she just popped in as a favor to whoever wrote that unfunny skit.
OK, after watching the trailer twice, here’s what I think looks promising:
• The joke that seems to have the most mileage is where Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts play parents who homeschool their kid, but wants to make sure he has the full high school experience. That includes Mom shoving her son in the hallways and calling him “fuckface,” and Dad surprising him in the shower to mock his pubic hair. Oh, and then they throw a house party and invite the girl their son likes, only for Dad to mack on her. Especially because this celebrity couple comes across as so buttoned-up and only starring in dramas, you can bet they had a lot of fun with this.
• The bit with Terrence Howard as a ’50s basketball coach looks like a great Saturday Night Live skit: While his team is talking all about thanking God for their championship, he’s trying to remind them that the only thing they need to thank God for is that they’re black.
• I don’t know if Chloe Moretz shot her skit before she got the role of Carrie, but it’s delightful irony that she plays a girl freaking out about getting her first period. And with Christopher Mintz-Plasse on-hand, we could pretend like this was something that happened behind the scenes of shooting Kick-Ass 2.
• On a blind date with Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet learns that he has some sort of disturbing birth defect. Really, I just love these two and will watch them in anything.
But overall, I’m afraid that Movie 43 will fall into the category of something like American Reunion: Trying to capitalize on offensive humor when prior incarnations have done it so much better. Would you go see this?