Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Ted 2 Is Somewhat Bearable

Plus, Max is sweet but sappy, and True Detective's season premiere intrigues.

by | June 25, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a rude bear (Ted 2, starring Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried) and a heroic dog (Max, starring Thomas Haden Church and Josh Wiggins). What do the critic have to say?


Ted 2

45%

Regardless what you think of Family Guy, A Million Ways to Die in the West, or Ted, it’s hard to deny that writer/director Seth MacFarlane is a talented man. However, critics say even though a few of the gags hit hard in Ted 2, the rest of the film vacillates between bromance, social satire, and gross-out humor, which is tough to balance over the course of nearly two hours. This time out, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) is married and wants to adopt a baby with his human wife. However, the state of Massachusetts declares that Ted is property and therefore has no legal standing, so our ersatz ursine hero sues for personhood. The pundits say that if you’re a fan or the original (and the rest of MacFarlane’s oeuvre), Ted 2 is likely to satisfy, but its tonal shifts and juvenile sensibility make for a hit-and-miss affair.



Max

38%

When someone describes a movie as “old fashioned,” it usually means one of two things: agreeable and irony-free, or incredibly sappy. Critics say Max fits both decriptions to a T — it’s well-meaning, inoffensive entertainment that’s safe for families with a schmaltzy story that may test the patience of older viewers. When Kyle (Robbie Amell) is killed serving in Afghanistan, it’s up to his younger brother Justin (Josh Wiggins) to care for Max, a German shepherd who’s been traumatized by war. Under Justin’s tutelage, Max slowly recovers — and ends up protecting his adoptive family from external threats. The pundits say Max is predictable and occasionally ludicrous, but that may not matter all that much to the kiddies. (Check out our video interview with Church, Josh Wiggins, co-star Lauren Graham, and director Boaz Yakin.)

What’s On TV:


In “The Western Book of the Dead” (75 percent), strong performances by the season two True Detective cast make for a compelling hour of television, even when the story takes a little too long to get going.

Mr. Robot (Certified Fresh at 96 percent) is a suspenseful cyber-thriller with timely stories and an intriguing, provocative premise.

Ballers (Certified Fresh at 79 percent) may not be a game-changer, but it scores points with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who brings charm and depth to the NFL version of Entourage.

Catastrophe (100 percent) proves that there’s still a place for simple romantic comedy on television, as long as the actors have chemistry and the jokes are laugh-out-loud funny.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Fresh Dressed, a documentary about the evolution of hip hop fashion, is at 91 percent.
  • The Midnight Swim, a supernatural drama about three siblings who gather at their childhood home and attempt to communicate with a ghost, is at 86 percent.
  • Glass Chin, starring Corey Stoll and Billy Crudup in a drama about a washed-up boxer who falls in with a gangster in an attempt to get another shot in the ring, is at 85 percent.
  • Advantageous, a sci-fi drama about a woman who undergoes a risky neurological procedure in order to help secure her daughter’s future, is at 80 percent.
  • Batkid Begins, a documentary about how an ailing five-year-old’s wish to be a superhero for a day became a viral sensation, is at 80 percent.
  • Runoff, a drama about a woman who engages in an illegal scheme as part of a last ditch effort to save her family’s farm, is at 80 percent.
  • A Borrowed Identity, a coming-of-age drama about a Palestinian teenager who is accepted to a posh Israeli boarding school, is at 78 percent.
  • The Princess Of France, a backstage drama about the romantic entanglements between a group of actors working on a radio production of Love’s Labour’s Lost, is at 78 percent.
  • Big Game, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ray Stevenson in an action thriller about a teenager who helps to save the president of the United States after Air Force One is shot down, is at 67 percent.
  • Felt, a drama about an artist who acts out a series of strange fantasies as a way of dealing with traumatic past relationships, is at 67 percent.
  • A Murder in the Park, a documentary about a group of journalism students whose investigation helped to get a man off death row, is at 67 percent.
  • Escobar: Paradise Lost, starring Benicio Del Toro and Josh Hutcherson in a drama about a beach bum who falls in love with the notorious drug kingpin’s niece, is at 55 percent.
  • The Little Death, an Australian comedy about five couples and their wildly varying bedroom habbits, is at 53 percent.
  • A Little Chaos, starring Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman in a drama about King Louis XIV’s gardener and her design for an outdoor ballroom at Versailles, is at 48 percent.
  • Into The Grizzly Maze, starring James Marsden and Thomas Jane in a horror/thriller about a group of people who must defend their town from a bloodthirsty bear, is at 14 percent.
  • 7 Minutes, starring Jason Ritter and Kris Kristofferson in a thriller about three desperate men who attempt to rob a bank, is at 11 percent.

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