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.
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.)