Movie 43, hitting theaters this Friday, has generated a certain level of suspense because viewers have no idea what to expect. Seth MacFarlane, describes it as Family Guy meets Schindler’s List.
The premise for the movie revolves around three kids that look for the most banned movie in the world, and is structured around 12 short films that are loosely connected. Each of the directors oversees their own short film and the end result is one unique movie product. If you’ve watched the trailer itself, you would have no idea what the mishmash of seemingly un-correlated scenes is all about. This is part of the marketing strategy too.
Having 12 different directors (12!) and 43 Hollywood stars is a risk that few have ventured to make. In this respect, the Hollywood executives are breaking new ground by taking such a heavy risk. This R-rated movie, billed as “the most outrageous comedy ever made,” with “the biggest cast ever assembled” is no exaggeration. One can just imagine the dueling egos involved, particularly with a movie overflowing with tons of A-list stars. Some of the big names in this movie include Halle Berry, Justin Long, Kate Winslet, Richard Gere, Hugh Jackman, and Snooki.
I’m normally not a fan of movies, where stars are packed in like commuters on the NYC subway during rush hour. It goes against the basic rules of moviemaking, where at its most fundamental level, a movie should tell a story and actors should be used as instruments that articulate the storyline. Too many characters make it difficult for viewers to follow along the convoluted and messy plotline. But it works here due to the unique structure of the movie.
Although Hollywood’s fascination with making epic films is not new, the use of telling inter-connected storylines, and employing bankable A-list celebrities, can be a high-risk move. Consider for example, New Year’s Eve (2011), a romantic holiday comedy featuring roughly 20 big-name Hollywood actors. The formulaic calculation of relying on lots of big time stars to carry a movie was an epic failure. The Farrelly brothers are hedging bets that its genre and target audience of Movie 43 will help to avoid a similar fate.
The fact is, comedic movies as a genre can rely on more big time stars on screen. Romantic movies, on the other hand, still are best left between a guy and a girl. This makes for a more intimate storyline and resonates between its female target audience.
Movie 43 is looking to break taboos of all kinds. Racist stereotypes, discussion of bodily fluids, and leprechauns all make an appearance here. In one scene, Halle Berry’s blind date dares her to blow out a blind child's candles before he can. In another scene, Berry dunks her bare chest into a bowl of guacamole; this exemplifies the movies level of professional acting.
Movie 43 is marketing heavily to their base target audience: viewers of MTV and VH1 who are young, male and known to be fans of gag humor. They won't be disappointed.
The actors as well have little to lose in terms of professional success. For veteran actors such as Richard Gere and Naomi Watts, being associated with this type of “gross out” movie won’t hurt their resume. They will still continue to make Oscar-worthy films and actors, and being creative people they will reap the benefits of making a fun movie.
While this movie took several years to make, coupled with a low budget of $6 million, priority of this movie revolved around the actors schedules and is one major reason that these highly bankable stars agreed to star in this movie.
Peter Farrelly, producer of Hall Pass and Shallow Hal, participated in an Ask-Me-Anything Reddit session recently. While viewers are intrigued by this movie, Farrelly admits that the outrageous nature of the movie might be too much for some critics to handle. In the end, fans will be delighted and entertained by pushing boundaries of what society can take.