REVIEW: Ted 2

Photo: Universal Pictures

Photo: Universal Pictures

Chris Luckett

History will show Seth MacFarlane’s entire career to be most shaped by one bit from a second-season episode of Family Guy, in which Peter trips running home, scuffs his knee, and rocks back and forth, cradling it in pain, for so long that it stops being funny and then somehow becomes funny again.

The lesson MacFarlane seems to have taken away from the success of that bit is that if a joke runs out of momentum, it should eventually recover is you just keep the scene going. On Family Guy and American Dad, that has led to some of their most hysterical gags. In Ted and A Million Ways to Die in the West, it evidenced that MacFarlane’s scuffed-knee persistence can’t sustain itself over the course of a feature film. Ted 2 is the most disappointing proof of that yet. Continue reading

REVIEW: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chris Luckett

One of the dumbest arguments for excusing stupidity in a movie is, “Well, that’s the way it was in the book/cartoon/ride/video game/toy’s backstory.” Just because a ridiculous plot point or character was accepted without scrutiny in another medium doesn’t mean it should gets a free pass in its movie form.

If anything, a movie adapted from a silly product should work extra hard to make itself believable, freestanding, and not above scrutiny. Clue, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and The LEGO Movie all succeeded despite their simplistic origins. Battleship, The Haunted Mansion, and the Transformers series, on the other hand, didn’t. In fact, the Transformers movies, made by the much-maligned Michael Bay, may be the worst of the offenders. Continue reading