Quick Picks – Ted 2 & Magic Mike XXL

Ted 2

Ted 2 resembles your average stoner – lackadaisical, insignificant, but likeable and occasionally thoughtful.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Review by Tom Munday

Ted (Seth Macfarlane) & Mark Wahlberg in Ted 2

Ted 2, the unanticipated sequel to director/writer/producer/performer Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 surprise hit, sees the titular animate, pot-smoking/heavy-drinking/expletive-fuelled object, Ted (Seth MacFarlane), and life-long Thunder Buddy John (Mark Wahlberg) in crisis. Ted, marrying Tammy-Lynn (Jessica Barth), believes a baby can bring them closer together. John, having divorced Mila Kunis’ character Lori, is struggling to get back on the horse. Sadly, life goes from bad to worse after Ted is declared “property” by the state and stripped of his civil rights. With the help of hotshot attorney Samantha (Amanda Seyfried), Ted and John strive to be taken seriously.

Ted 2 is the very definition of a more-of-the-same sequel. MacFarlane, with multiple successes and one failure under his belt, seems afraid of stepping outside his comfort zone. This sequel, like his other feature projects, closely resembles several Family Guy episodes stitched together. The plot, devised by he, Alec Sulkin, and Wellesley Wild, provides a welcome reprieve from the original’s romantic-comedy fluff. If anything, MacFarlane’s stab at bigger themes and heart-tugging moments deliver big laughs, and its stance against the justice system, Hasbro, and inequality lathers MacFarlane’s liberal on thick.

The jokes come thick and fast in the form of gross-out gags, fun cameos, and clever references. In true MacFarlane fashion, tributes to everything from Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and Comic-Con are comforting and hearty but never sustainable. MacFarlane, with infinite power, gathers a top-flight cast for huge and tiny roles. Wahlberg and MacFarlane’s chemistry crackles throughout, providing Marky Mark’s most enthusiastic performance in years, and Seyfried, John Slattery, Giovanni Ribisi, and Morgan Freeman are welcome additions to MacFarlane’s staple of regulars. Sadly, despite some lovely moments, Ted 2 is as lazy and stupid as your average stoner.

Magic Mike XXL

Laaadiessssssss – the boys are back in all their sweaty, fake-tanned, scantly clad glory.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Review by Courtney Loney

Joe Manganiello & Channing Tatum in Magic Mike XXL

Joe Manganiello & Channing Tatum in Magic Mike XXL

Directed by newcomer Gregory Jacobs, this highly anticipated sequel to Magic Mike once again plays almost entirely to an audience of women who are more than just a little eager to see the likes of Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer bust out their rippling six packs on the big screen. This latest film picks up three years after its predecessor to find Mike (Tatum) coming out of retirement in order to perform with the remaining members of the Kings of Tampa for one last time.

To be honest, it’s hard to say how I feel about this movie; from a technical perspective the film is very disappointing. Average performances and cinematography alongside a complete lack of storyline and character development cause Magic Mike XXL to fall far short of the original, especially with the loss of much loved characters played by Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer. In spite of these weaknesses, from a female perspective, MMXXL is highly enjoyable; I safely recall having a smile on my face throughout its entire duration.  I even overheard one audience member exclaim, “Please don’t end!” just as the opening beats to Pony dropped for one last time during the closing credits.

Overall, I really hope Hollywood continues to produce works aimed at women as the industry has been catering to male tastes and providing female-only eye candy for far too long. In addition to the hot men and sexy striptease sequences, I was also happy to see strong female roles in MMXXL – welcome Jada Pinkett Smith – as well as the inclusion of curvier girls as part of the normal population. So thank you Magic Mike XXL for being sexy, funny and body positive all at the same time!

Ted 2 is available in Australian cinemas from Thursday June 25th

Magic Mike XXL is available in Australian cinemas from Thursday July 7

Images courtesy of Universal Pictures & Roadshow Films 


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