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Tek Tek Bom: Another Mohamed Saad Slapstick Flick
Mohamed Saad plays Tika, an underdog Egyptian who sells toys for a living. A poor but good man, Tika's story begins on his wedding night which turns from the happiest night of his life to the most devastating memory, as the January 25th revolution breaks out on the exact same night. The riots end up destroying his wedding, and he and his wife (Dorra) both hide with no intentions of getting involved in what's happening.
They accidentally come across a neighbourhood gang that's planning to take advantage of the police's absence and lack of public security. After witnessing their plans, Tika is forced to join their next heist and become a member of the gang.
At one point, Tika gets involved in a nearby burglary and prevents the elderly George (Labeeb) and his family from harm by standing up to the thugs. With such a heroic act, the neighbourhood celebrates his bravery after things settle down a. As a result he is assigned as the neighbourhood patrol leader. Matters take a turn for the worse though, when Tika and his patrol members get thrown into jail after a misunderstanding, and get framed for a murder he didn't commit.
In relation to Saad's previous projects, Tek Tek Boom isn't as bad as we feared, but it lacks that one hook or gimmick that has usually carried his other films. As for the main plot, it jumps from one situation to another with no specific destination or realistic chain of connection. It's pretty exhausting.
In an attempt to tackle more dramatic roles as an actor, you'll be exposed to the cringing sight of Saad crying, hugging children and generally being a human being throughout. This is of course Saad's show, and all the other actors are quite peripheral. A real shame since Dorra in particular is able to combine charisma and comic timing in her role. Lotfy Labeeb and Gamal Ismail both play their parts well, but also get little screen time.
In short, Tek Tek Boom is far from Saad's worst films, but it is simply lacks on every level. You'll find yourself chuckling at most, and you may even enjoy his song about how he'd treat the Egyptian people if he was president.
Saddled with an overworked air of mystery that turns into vagueness and a little too much of a sullen atmosphere for its own good, Michael Petroni’s Backtrack finds one seemingly committed and haunted-looking Adrien Brody a little lost for guidance in how to bring about this effectively moody, but not at all frightening ghost-fest fiasco to light.
Set and shot in Australia, Backtrack tells the story of a troubled psychotherapist, Peter Bower (Brody sporting a relatively decent Aussie accent), who has recently moved to a new town for a fresh start with wife, Carol (Baird), after the loss of their young daughter Elvie (O’Farrell) to an incident caused by his own negligence. Unable to come to terms with her death and still very much haunted by crippling flashbacks, it takes some time for Peter to realise that a large portion of his most recent clientele – who all seem to be believe it’s 1987 - are actually ghosts, including one spooky-looking young girl named Elizabeth Valentine.
Unsure whether what he is seeing is real or if he’s having some sort of a mental breakdown, Peter decides to seek advice from friend and fellow therapist, Duncan Stewart (Neill wasted in his role), who thinks that there is a connection between his own personal tragedy and his latest array of patients, especially young Elizabeth, forcing him to go back to his hometown and investigate the repeated reference to 1987.
While the presence of the committed and reliable Oscar-winner, Adrien Brody, adds a note of credibility to proceedings, there is still a deep lack of complexity and originality in Michael Petroni’s derivative script which, unlike Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense which clearly is the main source of ‘inspiration’ here, seems to favour the style-over-substance approach. Predictability and familiarity are also plaguing factors and the fact that the audience can probably work out where the story is headed long before its leading man, doesn’t really leave Backtrack with enough storytelling power to pull itself out of the mess.
In the end, it’s relatively safe to say that Petroni’s second feature film – see 2003’s Till Human Voices Wake Us - leaves a lot to be desired. There is a decent idea in there somewhere and the air of intensity is somewhat effective, but what might have sounded good on paper doesn’t really necessarily translate on the screen. It's as if the film tries so hard to set the mood, that it forgets that in needs the occasional pop.
Ludicrous, crass but also undeniably fun,Ted 2 - the sequel to Seth MacFarlane’s successful 2012 comedy, Ted –proves to be a more consistent and better drawn-out affair than its predecessor, even if the jokes – which there never seems to be a shortage of– don’t always land where they’re supposed to.
Picking up shortly after the events of the first film, Ted 2 is once again centred on best-buds and avid stoners, John Bennett (Wahlberg) and his talking teddy bear, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) who, as it turns out, don’t seem to be living out their happily-ever-afters with the women in their lives. See, John has divorced the love-of-his-life, Lori (Kunis), and Ted, who at the beginning of the film shares his “I Do’s” with his human-bride, Tami-Lynn (Barth), is in constant clashes with his new wife.
Deciding that the best way to reconcile and put an end to all the bickering is to start a family, Ted reaches out to his best-friend for help; a decision which soon proves rather messy. However, Ted’s civil rights are soon called in to question by the government who wish to brand Ted as property as oppose to a living thing, leaving John and Ted with no choice but to turn to the rookie – and pot-loving- lawyer, Samantha (Seyfried) for some legal help in an attempt to prove that Ted is a living being with rights of his own. Hence the tagline ‘Legalise Ted’.
Endless pop-culture references and MacFarlane’s distinct brand of abstract toilet humour is once again the integral part of the story. While the first film lent most of its focus on Wahlberg and his romance with Mila Kunis – the actress was written out of the script due to her pregnancy with husband Ashton Kutcher – Ted 2 shifts the focus onto the talking teddy and his battle to be recognised, essentially, as a human.
The decision to shift proves to be a smart move, although the film does tend to take itself a little too seriously at times; in addition, Wahlberg – whose deadpan delivery is almost always spot on – seems to shine more in his secondary role.
Ted 2 is neither ambitious nor smart and its jokes are often offensive and pretty vulgar. Nevertheless, it’s a fun goofy kind of vulgarity that will ensure more box office success and probably even a third film.