Spy, Ted 2
& Get Hard
Reviewed by Mitch Burns
Life is exhausting, and most of the time a good movie can help us forget our troubles for a few hours. A comedy is the best example of that, as it not only occupies our mind for a while, it allows us to laugh and smile. When you have a three-month old baby at home, a comedy is easy to throw on at anytime, and when time is a rare commodity, briefly reviewing three comedies in one post… well it helps.
Directed by: Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat)
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Miranda Hart, Peter Serafinowicz, Bobby Cannavale, Nargis Fakhri, Morena Baccarin and Allison Janney
Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), works behind a desk at the CIA, she follows Agent Bradley Fines (Jude Law) wherever he may go, watching his every move from home-base, talking in his ear through an earpiece. Something goes horribly wrong, the only man who knows the location of a dangerous nuke is dead, and his daughter Rayna (Rose Byrne) may be the only person who can lead the CIA to it, but she knows the identity of every CIA agent. Now, Susan Cooper must go out and become a field agent for the first time, and track down the location of the Nuke. She’ll get some “Help” from her best friend Nancy (Miranda Hart) and rogue CIA agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham).
Spy is laugh central, but much like Feig’s other action centered comedy The Heat, Spy takes a while to get moving. It manages to stay interesting enough, but I found it short on laughs for the first little while. Feig should be commended, as Spy is loaded with hilarious, strong, and smart women. He also manages to stay away from the fat jokes and slap-stick humor we’ve quickly grown sick of, displayed prevalently in such Melissa McCarthy films as Identity Thief or Tammy.
Paul Feig has also introduced us to several actors who most of American hasn’t seen before, Nargis Fakhri and Morena Baccarin, who are both quite lovely, and a big helping of Miranda Hart, who plays Susan Coopers friend Nancy. Miranda Hart is given the role of quirky sidekick, and at times her character verges on becoming too over the top, but over all she is quite a fun addition.
Spy is a fun action comedy, one that I would recommend to any fans of Paul Feig or Melissa McCarthy, McCarthy is in top form, in what I would say is her best leading role to date. The rest of the cast is terrific, and I would be ecstatic to see this group of characters in a sequel.
Directed by: Seth MacFarlane (Ted, A Million Ways to Die in the West)
Starring: Mark Whalberg, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman, Sam J. Jones, Patrick Warburton, John Slattery and Seth MacFarlane as the voice of Ted
At the end of Ted, John Bennett (Mark Whalberg) and his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis), were married. Ted 2 begins 6 months after John and Lori have been divorced, because apparently they couldn’t get Mila Kunis back for the sequel. Ted (Seth MacFarlane) and Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) are married and not adjusting to married life well, in order to save their marriage Ted proposes having a child. Ted is a teddy bear and can’t have children, so John and Ted go about trying to get the perfect sperm sample for Ted and Tami-Lynn.
It isn’t until the couple decides to adopt that the government steps in and states that Ted cannot adopt since he is not a human being, he is property. Ted, John and their new lawyer friend Sam (Amanda Seyfried) decide to sue the government for Teds civil rights, so that they can adopt a baby.
What I have to say about Ted 2 can be summed up in one sentence: Funny, but a complete mess. Ted 2 is really very funny, there are many gags that had me laughing very hard, and one involving a box of Trix cereal that I re-watched and told my friends about. The issue is, Seth MacFarlane has a really tough time fitting these jokes into a coherent story, MacFarlane struggles so hard to make it all fit together, that it ends up a sloppy mess. It makes sense that MacFarlane has found so much success with short, 22-24 minute animated comedies, with cut away gags, as it just seems to be more his style.
For every funny moment in Ted 2, there is an equal amount of unfunny moments. The Mind of Seth MacFarlane is a wonderful thing, but it needs to be monitored, he needs fellow writers and producers that will inform him when a joke is unfunny. I don’t know why this film insists on going down paths that aren’t funny, and sticking too them. For example, Morgan Freeman is an unnecessary and unfunny addition, and New York City Comic-Con is a main through line and it doesn’t add anything to the story.
MacFarlane also seems to find it terrific to put his friends in his movies even if it isn’t productive or funny. For example, Patrick Warburton, who MacFarlane has known for years, pops up several times as a gay guy and it isn’t funny. Sam Jones AKA Flash Gordon had many jokes surrounding him in the first Ted, but it isn’t funny anymore, and he continues to pop up during this film. As well as Amanda Seyfried, who MacFarlane worked with in the abysmal A Million Ways to Die in the West, doesn’t seem to have a funny bone in her body, and I am perplexed as to why she continues to be cast in comedies.
Ted 2 is definitely worse than its predecessor, but quite better than A Million Ways to Die in the West. MacFarlane is funny, but I’d be happy to see him just continue working on his TV comedy, leave movies alone.
Directed by: Etan Cohen
Starring: Will Ferrel, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, T.I., Edwina Findley Dickerson, Erick Chavarria and Craig T. Nelson.
James King (Will Ferrel) is living the good life, he’s an extremely wealthy Hedge fund Manager, with a gorgeous girlfriend (Alison Brie), and they’re about to get married. Then, James King is arrested for Fraud and Embezzlement, he has 30 days to get his affairs in order before he will be put in prison for 10 years. James King is a wuss, and knows he won’t be able to handle prison, so he enlists the help of his car washer, Darnell (Kevin Hart). King Offers Darnell $30,000 to get him ready for prison, Darnell needs the money for his daughter, so he agrees, even though he’s never been to prison.
Get Hard is funny, I counted and I got about 10 decent laughs out of the film, but they weren’t memorable or anything to talk about. It is another not great movie in the dwindling career of Will Ferrel, despite Ferrel and Kevin Hart working their hardest. Alison Brie, who I quite enjoy from the TV show Community, plays one of the most terribly scripted and sexist characters ever, ripped right from a shitty 80’s melodrama, it’s almost offensive. The actor Erick Chavarria pops up several times, and he is a distractingly bad actor.
The film also walks a line between being funny racist and actually racist, Ferrel assuming Hart’s character is going to rob him because he is black, is actually quite comical, Ferrel’s entire maid and gardening team being played by Mexican actors is a bit offensive. On top of the subtle racism, add in the misogyny involving Alison Brie’s character, some homophobia, and about a million prison stereotypes, and Get Hard is a shining example of crossing the line.
Get Hard is occasionally funny, but it’s predictable and unmemorable, not nearly as quotable or fun as Ferrel’s early work like Step Brothers and Anchorman. Get Hard is in need of editing, give us more scenes like that shiv getting stuck in someones head scene, and cut out the very disturbing and unfunny blowjob scene, and then maybe Ferrel can return to his former glory.
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