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.
Continue reading: Ted 2 Review
Sorry, folks, Kirk Carmeron is nowhere to be found: this is the true story about one of the first video rental shops in the country, and how the business was done in by fundamentalists, a corrupt district attorney, and a greedy businessman.
Continue reading: Heart of the Beholder Review
The film revolves around the life of Michael Holloway (Balthazar Getty) who is trying to restart his life with his one-dimensional wife Chloe (Rebecca Gayheart) after a nasty bout of drug and alcohol addictions. Michael takes a job of working the graveyard shift at the local gas station and is bombarded by the ugliness and weirdness of the nightlife of L.A. One night, he meets a strange gent named Stuart (Mr. Buckaroo Banzai, Peter Weller). He drives a Porsche, smokes French cigarettes, and drones on about life, eventually coaxing Mike into exploring the "underbelly" of L.A. together, a tour of punk bars, S&M clubs, and bare-knuckle fights.
Continue reading: Shadow Hours Review
Star Trek: Nemesis, the tenth (and God help us, the last) movie in the unstoppable Trek series, offers the thinnest story since Star Trek V took the previous crew to the center of the galaxy in search of God. But at least this one isn't saddled by metaphysical nonsense. All of that's out the shuttle bay doors in favor of good, old-fashioned idiocy, ripped from yesterday's headlines.
Continue reading: Star Trek: Nemesis Review
Generations (having dispensed with the numbering of the sequels) is a fair enough film. It's massively contrived to be sure -- the Kirk-era cast and Picard-era cast were meant to be some 80 years apart -- but considering the difficulty of trying to combine two crews in one movie, Shatner & Stewart turned in a fair enough endeavor.
Continue reading: Star Trek: Generations Review
But you can't keep Trek down, and the crew saddled up for this lackluster experience, the likes of which would typically comprise an hour-long episode of The Next Generation, and not even a season finale.
Continue reading: Star Trek: Insurrection Review
Jonthan "Riker" Frakes is at the helm this time, taking the Next Generation crew on its first mission without the original series cast. The setup comes fast, as Frakes trots out one of the series' most reliable villains: The Borg. Building from the mythology set up in the series, Picard (a former Borg captive) has a serious axe to grind, and when Starfleet ends up in a skirmish with an invading Borg ship, he defies orders and engages them in battle. The day is won, but an escape pod shoots from the ship, tunnels through time (stop rolling your eyes), and lands on earth. We see the effects immediately: The Borg has completely taken over the planet. The only sensible solution: Follow the Borg through the time hole and try to wipe 'em out in the past.
Continue reading: Star Trek: First Contact Review
"Star Trek" films have always faced considerable scrutiny from their detail-oriented fans, so one would think by the 10th big screen outing the shepherds of the series would know better than to make a movie full of flubs.
Yet while "Star Trek: Nemesis" is a formidable, dignified sci-fi adventure when sticking to the substance of its story -- about a baneful young clone of Capt. Picard leading enemy aliens in battle against the starship Enterprise -- the picture grows decidedly flimsier with its many out-sized, out of character and logically porous action set pieces.
Take, for example, the silly dune buggy sequence in which Picard (Patrick Stewart), android Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) and Klingon Lt. Commander Worf (Michael Dorn) go conspicuously gallivanting around the planet of a pre-warp civilization (a violation of Star Fleet's Prime Directive that goes completely unaddressed), being shot at by locals and staging daredevil stunts, a la "XXX."
Continue reading: Star Trek: Nemesis Review
In "Shadow Hours" -- a bottom-feeder shocksploitation flick full of vapid, infernal biblical metaphors -- writer-director Isaac Eaton expects the audience to identify with a worthless, weak-willed, reprobate recently out of rehab who abandons his gorgeous, loyal, pregnant wife to follow a rich stranger into a hellish fantasy version of L.A.'s seamy underbelly.
Balthazar Getty -- the poor man's Charlie Sheen -- stars as an grumpy skid row gas jockey working the graveyard shift when a mysterious slickster (Peter Weller) pulls up in a Porsche, dark sunglasses and a $2,000 suit. He's looking for some gritty, down-and-out soul to torture as a "research assistant" on a book, apparently about the joys of social malignancy.
Soon Weller is dragging our complaisant hero around to strip bars, drug dens, graphically depicted S&M dungeons and dingy basements where they bet on bloody bare-knuckle brawls. But even after finding himself utterly appalled by his experiences, Getty's pump attendant -- already sickened by daily exposure to the dregs of humanity at his ghetto gas station -- continues to ride shotgun for the mystery man night after night.
Continue reading: Shadow Hours Review
At least one of the seven credited writers of the sequel-for-sequel's-sake holiday kiddie flick "The Santa Clause 2" clearly felt obliged to try to remedy the picture's contemptibly contrived premise by writing some really funny dialogue. And at least for-hire director Michael Lembeck (a sitcom vet making his screen debut) managed to infuse the movie with a fun, touching, sweet spirit.
But these acts are akin to Christmas miracles, coming as they do under the burden of a plot -- scratch that, a gimmick -- that revolves around finding even more fine print on the calling card of a dead St. Nick, which turned divorced suburban dad Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) into Santa Claus in the original family comedy from 1994.
It seems the elves waited eight years to inform their new Santa that he has until this Christmas to find a Mrs. Claus -- or else. "The de-Santafication process has already begun," frets head elf Bernard (David Krumholtz) as he shoos Scott off to find a wife. Meanwhile cherubic techie-elf Curtis (played by Spencer Breslin, one of those child actors who runs all his lines together without taking a breath or showing a hint of inflection) clones a big, rubbery toy Santa automaton (played by Allen in heavy prosthetic makeup) to stand in for Scott (unconvincingly) so the other elves won't learn of his predicament and panic at his absence.
Continue reading: The Santa Clause 2 Review