Friday Flicks: Why Is Just About Every Star in Hollywood Appearing in Movie 43?

TIME breaks down which films to see and which to avoid this weekend.

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Movie 43

Tagline: Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

What the heck is Movie 43 and why are all those movie stars in it? The cast is so huge it’s arguably easier to list the actors not appearing in this comedy, which is basically a series of shorts directed by Peter Farrelly (Of the There’s Something About Mary Farrelly brothers) as well as a dozen others.

The film has taken years to make because Farrelly cast his net far and wide in an effort to snag A-listers such as Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman for the project. Though they expressed interest, the stumbling block, as Farrelly explained to, was that their schedules were so packed, they weren’t available for 18 months. The answer? The producers simply waited them out.

Farrelly directed two of the spots, one of which was the Winslet/Jackman collaboration called “The Catch,” about their blind date. Dating is the subject of his other segment, “Truth or Dare,” featuring Halle Berry and comedian Stephen Merchant (co-creator with Ricky Gervais of the British version of The Office). Who else will we see? Oh, just Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Emma Stone, Johnny Knoxville, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Naomi Watts, Uma Thurman and Seth MacFarlane.

Farrelly has doubts as to whether it would be a critical hit (“It’s not going to get good reviews, but it’s going to be a huge thing for college kids,” he tells ComingSoon) and reckons it will score a miserly “13 on the Rotten Tomatoes scale.” As it turns out, at this time of writing, there have been no reviews to even give Movie 43 a score. The public will have to decide for themselves.

HUGH JACKMAN: Les Miz‘s Leading Man Talks to TIME

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Tagline: Classic tale, new twist.

Here’s an origin story with a twist: Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) of “trail of breadcrumbs” fame survived their hellish childhood experience and grew up to become vigilantes, with a passion for retribution against the evil witches of the world. If the Brothers Grimm were still alive, they totally would have gotten the screenwriting gig.

Instead, director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow) shares screenwriting credit along with Dante Harper as the fairy-tale figures must confront an evil even worse than witches: their past.

There isn’t much in the way of critical opinion to guide us from here on in. Movie Nation will commit to writing that it’s “a silly mashup of horror and hilarity produced by Will Ferrell’s team, and starring the guy carrying on The Bourne Legacy and the accomplished former Bond babe.” That’s January movies for you, folks: plenty of star names, barely any reviews.

MORE: Why Studio Kitsch Like Hansel & Gretel Tends to Be So Bad It’s…Awful


Based on the series of bestselling novels by Donald E. Westlake, Parker finds British tough guy Jason Statham playing the eponymous lead. Double-crossed and left for dead by his fellow criminals, Parker duly seeks revenge by traveling to Florida to get one over on them at their next heist.

For a film which seems to scream hokum, it’s got a pretty decent supporting cast and director in the form of Taylor Hackford (Ray). You also get the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce and Nick Nolte for the price of your ticket, which makes all the negative reviews even more disappointing. “Parker‘s not so much broad or inclusive as weirdly schizophrenic, vacillating between flat comedy and spiked savagery, the product of a painfully slapdash script,” rants Slant. “Statham is stepping into a well-known persona. But he’s not exactly pushing himself outside his comfort zone; he’s on auto-pilot here, despite the obvious physical demands of the part,” reflects the Associated Press. And The Wrap doesn’t even think about holding back: “If you’ve ever wanted to see the camel that’s the result of that proverbial horse-building committee, check out Parker — and the hump, you’ll pardon the expression, is the character played by Jennifer Lopez.”

Q&A: Jason Statham

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: For curiosity value alone, Movie 43 could be worth checking out, although you’re probably going to get a more traditional movie experience out of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

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