Broken City: Another awful Mark Wahlberg movie

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If you had to choose two actors suited to a political crime thriller, chances are Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe wouldn’t be the first names out of the hat. Never-the-less, they’re big names. The bigger the names, the better the film right? Right??

Cue Allen Hughes’s Broken City; the only proof we need to finally conclude that a film requires a lot more than well-established actors.

Wahlberg, in a not-so-unique role, plays Billy Taggart, a good cop in a bad town.

One night, Taggart makes a decision that changes his life forever. Years later, the city’s mayor (Crowe) remembers the cop-turned-private-eye and asks him to take on a new assignment. The mayor suspects his wife (an impressive Catherine Zeta-Jones – credit where credit’s due) of being unfaithful and wants the ex-cop to investigate.

So begins a twisted and unnecessarily convoluted tale as Taggart tries to find out what’s going on. That is, quite genuinely, the whole film right there. Taggart becomes confused. Taggart investigates. Taggart (on more than one occasion)  blatantly asks “What’s going on” and, in the end, Taggart finds out what was going on. Riveting.

On several occasions, Hughes places too much responsibility on his stars to carry the film on their own, believing that if he simply puts them in a scene together the actorly sparks will fly. This doesn’t work, however, unless they also have something interesting to say.

In Broken City, neither the over-complicated plot nor the overwritten dialogue ever grips. At times, it seems that barely any effort is being made at all, when Zeta-Jones, for example, makes a speech about human rights below a huge sign reading “Human Rights Campaign”. A little imagination, people, please. But that’s Broken City, a film that takes a sledgehammer to subtlety.

Avoid at all cost.

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Ted: offensive comedy at its very best

Coming to Irish cinemas next week we have McFarlane’s Ted, a goofy, quirky and infectiously funny bromance about an ordinary guy and his extraordinary friend.

Sick of being the kid who can’t make friends, eight-year-old John Bennett wishes that his teddy bear were real. In true fairytale fashion, complete with shooting stars and gap tooth smiles, little John Bennett’s wish comes true. At first Ted the talking teddy bear is a celebrity, appearing on television chat shows and loved by parents and children the world over. All too soon however, in the words of Seth McFarlen “everybody stopped giving a shit”.

Fast forward 27 years and we see John (Mark Wahlberg) desperately trying to juggle his girlfriend (Mila Kunis) and his best friend (Ted) as they share an apartment in the big city of Boston. Hilarity ensues.

From the very beginning, you can tell this is a Seth McFarlen production. His very unique, very offensive, style of comedy is both hilarious and slightly awkward. Fans of Family Guy (McFarlen’s hit TV animation series) will love it unconditionally, but a more reserved audience will hate it with the fire of a thousand suns. As such, Ted has, predictably enough, garnered some pretty mixed reviews.

Personally, I absolutely loved it. I thought it was original, random and deliciously unapologetic. Some of the jokes were a little childish and awkward, but these were few and far between. Overall, it was an extremely enjoyable movie with a good few sidesplittingly funny moments that you just can’t help but laugh at.

If you think it’s your kind of humor, then it probably is. But if you can’t find the funny side to jokes about racism, drug abuse and having sex with vegetables, you should probably give it a miss.

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