3-Movie Laugh Pack – Dumb and Dumber To/Ted/A Million Ways to Die in the West

Dumb and Dumber To directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly:

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are back in their roles as Lloyd and Harry – two of the dumbest guys you will ever have the chance of watching on the big screen.  Dumb and Dumber, originally released in 1994 was an ode to physical comedy and slapstick humour. Despite the fact that it was not especially well written or original in any shape or form wore the viewer down with its stupid antic after even stupider antic. In other words it was moderately successful in that it eventually made us laugh.

Twenty years later and it seems like someone thought it was a good idea to put out a sequel. It seems like a desperate attempt by the people involved to put themselves back in the spotlight. The Brothers Farrelly, who have not met a fart or kick in the gonads joke they don’t love, have not had a hit since There’s Something About Mary so are in desperate need of making themselves relevant once again the comedy arena. Even Jim Carrey has not had a hit or critical acclaim since 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And Jeff Daniels…well….he seems to be willing to do just about anything for a paycheck.

This time we are twenty years in the future and Harry Dunne has found out some life changing news – he has a daughter. His best friend and equally not the sharpest knife in the drawer takes one look at a photo of Harry’s daughter and falls head over heels in love. Needless to say, he convinces Harry to seek out the young woman using the you need a kidney transplant angle. A road trip filled with odd encounters, a couple of assassins, a young wife with a devious plot, an invention worth a lot of money and not the smartest moves ensues. Simply the film is about two morons acting moronically. Point finale.

Watching the film, which was waaaayyyy too long at nearly two hours, and becoming rather bored by the infantile and not funny humour my mind began to wander and I started thinking of things like who out there is the target audience for a film like this? Whose mind can tolerate or even further, enjoy humour of this variety. I have been known to like a good fart joke myself but this even denigrates that hallowed comedy vehicle. Apparently there is a section of the population out there that finds chipped teeth, sex with octogenarians, farting and castration funny. I need to have talk with these people and ask them “Really?”.

Carrey and Daniels are all in. You have to give it to them as they are not just going through the motions to pick up their paychecks. They are all in. No matter that the humour and jokes falls flat. It doesn’t matter what nonsensical dialogue the six screenwriters (having that many on one film is usually the first sign of trouble) make them say the two actors never let it show in their performances that they are embarrassed to be there.

There are a few moments, few and very far between, in which they just stick to simple physical comedy and they do get a giggle but it doesn’t happen enough to make the film bearable. Dumb and Dumber To is a one trick pony that is stretched out painfully to 110 minutes. It is almost like Chinese water torture sitting through it.

 

Ted directed by Seth MacFarlane:

It has been a while since I’ve gone to a film that made me laugh out loud like this one. Granted it is all silly stuff but that is exactly what I was expecting and got from Ted. I mean the whole premise of the story of a grown man who has a teddy bear, who walks and talks, as his best friend is preposterous. They were not splitting atoms here. As Seth McFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad) is involved as the voice of the bear and director you know it is going to be rude and crude. Check and check for those two categories.

John Bennett is a young boy in dire need of a best friend. One Christmas he wishes aloud that his teddy bear could be real and poof it happens. Now John (Mark Wahlberg – Contraband, The Fighter) is an adult and works as an assistant manager at a car rental agency. He is a bit of doofus though of the harmless variety.

Dating his very beautiful girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis – The Black Swan, Friends With Benefits) becomes a little tricky due to his foul-mouthed and stuffed best friend/teddy bear Ted (Seth McFarlane). Ted is not your typical talking stuffed animal (whatever that is) in that he swears, drinks a lot and brings home hookers. You can see where I’m going here…Lori wants John to get rid of Ted and Ted and John really don’t know how to live without one another. How much Ted really means to him becomes crystal clear when a slimeball (Giovanni Ribisi – Avatar, Lost in Translation) wants to kidnap Ted to give to his son.

No matter who you are you have to admit that listening and watching a potty mouthed teddy bear swear and chase women is funny. Though I must warn you that the film is not for the faint of heart as it is often racist, sexist, rude, irreverent, and basically offensive to most. What it most certainly is is a good time. I frequently laughed and laughed hard.  The one-liners keep coming fast and furious.

 

A Million Ways to Die in the West directed by Seth MacFarlane:

Take it or leave it is the general feeling about Seth MacFarlane’s particular brand of humour. Obviously more people have taken it rather than been turned off by it judging by the success of his film Ted and animated television series Family Guy. His is a brand of humour that involves plenty of pop culture references, crude pubescent teenage jokes and crossing boundaries.

Early rumblings about MacFarlane’s follow up film to the hit Ted have not been flattering. This time he also stars in the film he directs and does not just provide the voice for a talking teddy bear. Most of the praise or blame will fall square on his shoulders but due to his previous successes those shoulders are broad ones.

Story goes as such: A mild mannered sheep farmer named Albert Stark (Seth MacFarlane – Ted, Movie 43) finds himself in a pinch when he has to go up against Charlie Blanche (Brett Rickaby – Zodiac), a man who he owes money to, in a gunfight. The coward does everything he can to avoid it though in the end he ends up shot in the leg. Now the whole town of Old Stump and worse yet his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried – In Time, Mamma Mia) know how big a chicken he is. The embarrassment leads to Louise breaking things off with Albert despite his pleadings of love for her.

Later that evening in the town saloon along with his friends Ruth (Sarah Silverman – There’s Something About Mary, School of Rock) and Edward (Giovanni Ribisi – Avatar, Saving Private Ryan), Albert complains that there are a million ways to die in the West and it frightens him.  A night of drunkenness ensues. The next day doesn’t get any better for Albert as he sees Louise has moved on very quickly with another man named Foy (Neil Patrick Harris – from television’s How I Met Your Mother).

Things start looking up later that night when Albert accidentally saves a newcomer to town named Anna (Charlize Theron – Monster, Prometheus) during a bar fight. After some talk Anna convinces Albert to bring her to the fair to make Louise jealous. After being embarrassed by Foy at a shooting contest and then challenging him to a gunfight the next day, Albert seems sunk. That is until Anna offers to teach him how to shoot.  Spending some time together brings the two closer and they even share a kiss.

Anna’s happiness ends when her husband Cinch (Liam Neeson – Taken, Non-Stop) shows up at her door. Albert talks his way out of the gunfight the next day by saying Louise can have Foy as he has moved on. After he leaves and goes to Anna’s he finds her stuff still there but she is gone. He figures out that she is married to Cinch and is another woman who has disappointed him. A bunch of misunderstandings, shootings, Indians, hiding amongst sheep, and Islamic death chants happen in this crazy little town in the West.

An attempt at a satirical western comedy is what Seth MacFarlane had in mind but what he ends up with is a film that is too cheeky for its own good. The way that the man behind the film and in front of the camera sometimes trips himself up is when he allows his ego to get in the way. Meaning that sometimes he is too smart for his own good.

Even though I enjoy MacFarlane’s brand of humour I found my attention wandering about half way through the film. The biggest problem was the script and MacFarlane’s acting. Most of the jokes were weak and fell flat or else were done to death so that they really weren’t not funny the fourth time around. On top of that there was no real coherence to the movie. It seemed just like a whole bunch of skits patched together. Each scene just seemed to exist in order to set up a joke that in the end did not work well. In the end it was almost as if MacFarlane realized it wasn’t working and stooped to a load of bathroom humour or penis jokes. Had he run out of ideas? Then there was the fact that MacFarlane stuck out in a bad way. He seemed awkward and ill-suited to being in front of the camera.

If you are going to the film thinking it is on the same level as Ted then you will be sorely disappointed. Seth MacFarlane has taken a step backwards with his second effort.

Special Features:

“That’s Awesome!” – The Story of Dumb and Dumber To

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