Frequently when watching a lousy movie, one tends to rhetorically ask, "How did this movie get made?" The underlying premise is that surely someone had to have realized the the script was junk or that the dailies showed it wasn't getting better on film, etc. However, the question REALLY applies with the mind-boggling in its very existence Movie 43, in which Oscar winners and nominees - we're talking serious AAA talents - gleefully appear in the lowest of lowbrow raunchy comedy. While rocking a tragic 4% at Rotten Tomatoes, the truth is that Movie 43 is pretty funny, but a huge chunk of the laughs come from exclaiming, "OMG! Is that [insert Big Star name here]?!?!? I can't believe it!" repeatedly.
Using a framing device of teenagers trying to find the legendary "Movie 43" online (more later about this), they search from short vignette to another (think Kentucky Fried Movie or Amazon Women on the Moon) opening with the jaw-dropping spectacle of Oscar winner Kate Winslet on a blind date with a super-eligible bachelor played by Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman who has a massive scrotum dangling from under his chin and no one else seems to notice. No, I'm not kidding.
Subsequent scenes feature real-life couples Liev Schreiber and Oscar nominee Naomi Watts as parents home-schooling their son, but making sure he gets the full high school experience by hazing him mercilessly and Ana Faris and Chris Pratt dealing with her scatological sexual request. Oscar winner Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant engage in a massively out-of-hand first date edition of Truth or Dare; Emma Stone and Keiran Culkan are romantic young lovers sexually insulting each other at a supermarket checkout line with the whole store listening in on the PA; Josh Duhamel and Elizabeth Banks have a cartoon cat coming between them; speed-dating for Robin (Justin Long) is complicated by Batman (Jason Sudakis) showing up and being a total dick while Supergirl (Kristen Bell) is at the table; Chloe Grace Moretz is a girl having her first period in a house full of stupid guys in terror; and Oscar nominee Terrance Howard is a basketball coach in 1959 trying to deliver a pep talk to his doubting all-black team before the championship game, his basic point being, "You're black. They're white. This isn't hockey!"
While many of the sketches drag on too long (see Shakespeare's admonition about brevity, please) there are a lot of hearty laughs in Movie 43 if you're not too snooty about things and are smarter than a 2-1/2 Men mouth-breather. Just be warned that this isn't going to be Noel Coward; more like Moe Howard. I'm a huge fan of Kentucky Fried Movie (which is out on Blu-ray now; w00t!) and Movie 43 is nowhere near that classic's brilliance, but still laughs enough.
About the framing segments: When it came out in theaters for about a day, I remember the reviews mentioning these shorts were movie ideas being pitched by a desperate writer. If you look at the IMDB listing, it shows Dennis Quaid and Greg Kinnear were in it as opposed to the unknowns (plus Fisher Stevens) in the home version. It's a totally different story and I have no idea why they redid it all in what has to have been a more elaborate fashion just for the home game.
UPDATE: Apparently there were different versions for the UK and US markets, but I can't find out why, mostly because the writers of the stories hate the movie so much they don't want to be arsed. Real pro work, guys
Score: 6/10. Catch it on cable.