I had let go of Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy when it had it’s second return with American Dad! and The Cleveland Show, monopolizing adult cartoons and becoming the highest paid TV writer and merchandise sell-out in Hot Topic and touristy t-shirt shops. All the while using the same crude schtick from his College Thesis, The Life of Larry. Hypocritical I know, since I haven’t done jack shit since my College days except for these same ripping posts, but in my defense – I don’t get paid let alone have any readers to give site stickers to. So when I first saw the trailers for Ted I was a bit apprehensive of another bromance riff movie. But who would have guessed that what would separate this apart from the Hangover bunch or this years 21 Jump Street would be Mark Wahlberg and a Motion Capture CGI Teddy Bear.
Mark seems to have flourished as a comedic actor since talking to plants in The Happening, though perhaps inadvertently with The Other Guys and as a Bostonite Meathead in The Departed as Sargent Dignam or when he was Dirk Diggler and dropped his pants. And perhaps he took Andy Samberg’s SNL mockery of Mark Wahlberg talks to Animals skit to heart a little too far as he signed on to a talking bear movie before ever watching any of Seth MacFarlane’s work. But like his Marky Mark stardom I’m pretty sure most of Wahlberg’s success has for the most part all been an accident…I mean who’d of thought it possible to get through the backdoor to Hollywood by being the younger brother of one of The New Kids on the Block would amount to this? An utterly convincing portrayal of an arrested developed 35 year old stoner who has to question whether to live with Mila Kunis or his talking stuffed Teddy Bear. Now that takes some doing.
Like most MacFarlane works it’s saturated with pop culture references to the point of overkill. I mean if you thought the Flash Gordon bit was getting old the Taylor Lautner joke was already dead. But the longest lasting joke, other than just plain growing up and facing responsibilities, will be the everlasting love of the Stalker, Giovanni Ribisi, who kidnaps Ted for his kid and his obsession with Tiffany.
Lowell, Mass may have been the birthplace of Bette Davis and the Industrial Revolution but it still looks to be stuck in the Great Depression. What a dump!!! Though Christian Bale seems more at home in Lowell tweeking in a crack house with hoes rather than spelunking in The Batcave with Sir Alfred, what elevates this seemingly standard feel-good boxing movie is the loser ringside cast of characters and chain smoking trailer trash Sisters who all want a piece of their brothers Micky Ward (Mark Walhburg) and Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) in hopes of being part of this dilapidated town’s pride.
For all it’s conventionalities, The Fighter still packs a punch with all it’s great acting performances – especially from Melissa Leo who plays their overbearing Mother, and Amy Adams to combat her antics. Also including Mark Wahlberg who surpasses his plastic plant scene, and Christian Bale and his clenched jaw, nose mole act.
Body Of Lies, adapted by the same screenwriter as The Departed, William Monahan, proves to be just as far fetched and implausible, only without Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg farting out Shakespeare, resulting in a typical stylisitic rehashing of Syriana, the then current Middle East bomb infested terrorist action flick.
Amidst the war torn country of Jordan with all it’s civil unrest and harboring terrorist safe houses you can always count on some incognito American Counter Intelligence Operative, Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio), who manages to dodge bullets and missiles but is still unable to avoid getting bit by a dog – making time for your cliche romance with native nurse, Aisha (Golshifteh Farahani), who administers rabie shots to heal his wounds and then later of course, does double duty playing the damsel in distress.
(Poontang pie may taste as good as cherry but til Tastyvision who needs this mush?)
Meanwhile back in the good ole’ USA at CIA headquarters Ferris’ handler and superior, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) gaining 63lbs I guess to authenticate the gluttonous nature of American excess or simply the result and justification of him sitting on his fat ass while he monitors Ferris’ every bowel movement via the high tech unmanned aerial vehicle that is capable of zooming in on every fucking grain of sand in them desert regions yet is unfortunately unable to locate known terrorist leader, Al Saleem, whom recently masterminded bombings throughout Europe and whom both Ferris and Hoffman’s mission is to capture and kill.
Not only do they have this eye in the sky at their disposal to be in constant communique but also Ferris has uncanny cell reception in this barren wasteland when I can’t even get reception in my fucking house. At least this is more plausible then how Ferris is able to befriend the head of Jordanian Intelligence Dept., Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), to work in conjunction but then later without his authority set up a bogus terrorist cell and staging an attack on a US military base in Turkey using unclaimed bodies dressed as soldiers (hence the title) to deceive and lure Al Saleem into thinking maybe he’s not the baddest terrorist on the block anymore and to crawl out of his cave to be exposed to open fire. Not surprisingly this convoluted covert operation backfires resulting in Leo losing a couple of fingers and his patriotism. At least his and Crowe’s performance aren’t as annoying as Aisha healing Leo’s wounds.