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Ted 2 Review


Fans of the surprise 2012 hit Ted will find plenty to love in this sequel, in which Seth MacFarlane takes the same approach: throwing every kind of gag at the screen in the hopes that some of them stick. Thankfully, there are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments to make sure the film is continually entertaining, even if the plot isn't particularly inventive.

In the past three years, John (Mark Wahlberg) has seen his marriage fall apart, while Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) has married his girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). A year later, Ted and Tami-Lynn are in a rut and decide that perhaps a child will help kickstart their romance. Unable to conceive for obvious reasons, they turn to adoption, but this raises a red flag about Ted's status in society: he isn't actually a person, and the state declares that he's property. On the verge of losing everything, Ted and John hire novice lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) to defend Ted's right to be treated as a person. But their opponent is a slick lawyer (John Slattery) hired in secret by toy company Hasbro, which is now in league with Ted's long-time stalker-nemesis Donny (Giovanni Ribisi).

The ongoing central gag here is that John and Ted have never grown up, stuck in their dope-smoking fanboy ways, which allows for all kinds of rude mayhem, plus lots of cameo appearances from genre stars, including a gratuitous trip to New York Comic-Con that turns into the film's funniest sequence with a series of sublimely silly running gags. On the other hand, the one-joke premise badly limits the film's scope for coherent storytelling, merely dashing from one nutty set-piece to the next and hoping that something funny will happen. Thankfully, most sequences are genuinely amusing, at least for audiences whose goal is just to have a good time at the movies.

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The Boy Next Door Review


A cheesy TV movie ramped up with language and violence, this sudsy thriller is far more fun to watch than it should be. With its tepid spin on the plot of Fatal Attraction, the film strains to be a bunny-boiler, but entertains the audience because it's so preposterous that not a single moment is remotely believable. And since the cast refuses to play it straight, camping it up while smirking at the camera, it's enjoyable in all the wrong ways.

Jennifer Lopez stars as Claire, a high school teacher who has recently split from her husband Garrett (John Corbett) and is still getting used to life on her own with teen son Kevin (Ian Nelson). Then the astoundingly hunky 19-year-old Noah (played by 27-year-old Ryan Guzman) moves in next door with his invalid uncle (Jack Wallace) after his parents die in a fiery car crash. Super friendly, Noah quickly begins to help Kevin stand up to the school bullies and pursue the hot girl (Lexi Atkins). But Noah also begins to flirt relentlessly with Claire, and in a moment of neediness she gives in. While she sees this as a mildly transgressive restorative fling, Noah thinks it's true love, and pursues her tenaciously. And when Claire begins to trying to patch things up with Garrett, Noah takes Kevin out for a bit of gun practice.

Despite a tendency to drift into grisly violence, there's nothing edgy here. It's a swirling storm of innuendo and suggestion, with a strong sense of menace that never quite convinces us, even with a couple of gruesome plot points. This may be because the camera clearly loves Lopez so much that we know she's never in danger.

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Ted Review

Plying his trade in pop culture references and surprising punchlines, MacFarlane jumps the adult-oriented comedy bandwagon with a film that's smarter and funnier than most. It also has a surprisingly warm and serious thematic undercurrent.

After a childhood wish brought his teddy bear to life, John (Wahlberg) has become inseparable with his buddy Ted (voiced by Macfarlane). But John's girlfriend Lori (Kunis) is starting to think that a 35-year-old man and his fluffy pal should stop living like stoner-slackers. Worried about the foul-mouthed, womanising Ted's influence, she encourages John to make his own way in life, so they can be a proper couple. But separating Ted and John is more difficult than it looks.

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Beverly Hills Chihuahua Review

Of all the misguided movie genres, the modern family film is the most disingenuous. While it argues that it's merely providing "quality" entertainment to those underserved by Hollywood's obsession with sex and violence, the truth is that most G- to PG-rated fare is far more insidious. Applying a sugar-coated Saturday morning superficiality to what's supposed to pass for pleasantries, the Tinsel Town machine still finds a way to manufacture out all the fun. Disney's disappointing live action comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua can be accused of a great many faults -- indirect racism, single digit IQ writing, past-tense pop culture awareness -- but one thing it cannot claim is an ability to reach beyond its typical tween demographic.

Chloe (the voice of Drew Barrymore) is the most pampered pooch in all of sunny LaLa Land. Her owner (Jamie Lee Curtis) is a rich cosmetics titan who indulges her pet's every non-human whim. When the mogul needs to fly off to Europe to launch her new line, she must rely on her prissy, high strung niece Rachel (Piper Perabo) to mind her valuable canine. Showing just how responsible she is, our substitute sitter instantly accepts an invitation to weekend in Mexico, and takes Chloe along for the unnecessary ride. Dognappers eventually hijack the hound, and it's up to an ex-cop German Shepherd (voiced by Andy Garcia), a good natured landscaper (Manolo Cardona), and his frisky Chihuahua Papi (voiced by George Lopez) to rescue the four footed female before it's too late.

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Blades Of Glory Review

Somewhere along the line, it was theorized that Will Ferrell as an athlete is inherently funny. Fortunately for Blades of Glory, which continues the sports farce oeuvre he began with Kicking and Screaming and Talladega Nights (and will extend with the upcoming Semi-Pro), that assumption appears to be correct.

Blades begins with the backstory of figure skating prodigy Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder). Plucked from an orphanage and given his last name by creepy entrepreneur Darren MacElroy (William Fichtner), Jimmy is groomed to become a champion. His only competition is the exquisitely named Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell) who brings the swagger only a self-proclaimed sex addict can to the sport.

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The Ringer Review

A recent Associated Press story detailed how Peter and Bobby Farrelly gave the Special Olympics full script approval for The Ringer, their new comedy about a well-intentioned loser (Johnny Knoxville) who impersonates a mentally challenged person in order to win the Special Olympics and score some much-needed cash.

"I wanted this movie out there," Peter Farrelly told the AP. "It's very funny, but I also saw the potential for changing people's perceptions of people with intellectual disabilities."

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Anger Management Review

Fresh from uncharacteristic performances in Punch-Drunk Love and About Schmidt, Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson have returned to their roots in Anger Management. In Sandler's case, it's as the dim-bulb Everyman who sings with a falsetto; in Nicholson's, as the crazed lunatic with eyebrows of steel.

These two performers come together for the first time in a strange and uneven movie ostensibly about the dysfunction caused by repressed anger. Sandler's Dave, traumatized since the 1970s when his small package was revealed by a bully in the middle of his Brooklyn neighborhood, is an executive assistant to the president of a pet clothing company (people, I don't make this stuff up). A plane trip lands him in a seat next to Dr. Buddy Rydell (Nicholson), and a chance arm-brush with a flight attendant (you've seen the trailers) lands him in court for assault. Soon enough he's sentenced to spend a month in the care of Rydell, who moves into Dave's flat, where he demands breakfast be cooked for him and sleeps naked with him in his bed.

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