Ted 2 review: ‘Crude, crass, sexist, but I loved it’

IT is crude, sexually explicit, crass, bad-taste, sexist, stupid, drug-fuelled and full of schoolboy/loo/appendage humour.

So if you can’t cope with any of those, or seeing Mark Wahlberg soaked in rejected sperm, you’d better not see Ted 2. Note to all: this is not a cutesy, school holidays kiddie movie.

But what else can we expect from the fast-paced mind of Seth MacFarlane, the man behind the crassly clever Family Guy franchise?

OK, so the plot. (Yes, there actually is one.) The newly married couple of Ted (the talking bear) and trash-talking Tami-Lynn (supermarket assistant) are having marriage issues.

They conclude that by having, well, adopting a baby, that will fix everything up. But when you are living life as a stuffed toy, things get tricky.

In order to qualify to be a parent in the state of Massachusetts, teddy bear Ted has to ‘prove’ he’s a person in a court of law. Along with his best friend Johnny (Mark Wahlberg) and newbie lawyer Samantha L Jackson played by Amanda Seyfried (and referred to as Gollum throughout the film) they set out to make it a mega legal issue.

Ted starts to liken their plight to the struggle of gay and lesbians to be ‘legally’ married.

Enter a highly publicised courtroom drama, an accidental visit to Comic-Con in New York, a discovery of a huge pot farm and so it goes.

The likes of Liam Neeson, Jay Leno, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and magnificent Morgan Freeman all have cameos, most of which I’m pretty sure they just do as a dare. Or as a favour to Seth MacFarlane.

At times, the political incorrectness and simply bad taste of it all has you closing your eyes and cringing in total embarrassment.

The most cringe worthy and irreverent scene comes when Ted and Johnny accidentally walk into an improv theatre just as the onstage talent ask the audience for improv suggestions.

Ted and Johnny yell out Robin Williams, 9/11, Charlie Hedbro and Bill Cosby. At this point, you could just about feel and hear the whole theatre squirming at the Aussie premiere.

And when Ted and Johnny attempt to break into Tom Brady’s house to ‘milk’ him for sperm? That’s really when my popcorn nearly exploded.

That said, you may wonder whether there is enough fuel in the Ted engine for a Ted 3. While we laughed, yes, really belly laughed, Ted may have done his cinematic dash after this one.

I mean, (spoiler alert here) after the high flying and credible civil rights attorney Morgan Freeman successfully defends Ted; the bear and his bride adopt a baby and Johnny ends up with the Gollum-looking lawyer, where do you go from here?

But then, with a menacing mind like MacFarlane’s behind the Ted franchise, I’m pretty sure he could still take him to further places unknown.

This article was originally posted on news.com.au

Jodhi, James and Mariah: The bizarre love triangle where everyone wins


THIS time of the year, the sunny, social, cashed-up and sexy Mediterranean is the land of the long, white boat.

High-flyers, Russian oligarchs and occasional wannabes twirl around Sardinia, the Italian Riviera’s Portofino, the Amalfi and take a few trips onto the Isle of Capri for dinner at Ristorante La Fontelina. But one incredibly high-profile blossoming romance will continue to have the business and entertainment worlds buzzing this (northern hemisphere) summer.

Our very own James Packer, 47, and the sultry songstress and pop star Mariah Carey, 45, have outshone any mega boat on the Med’s waters.

And you know what? Good. On. Them.

Even James’s first wife, the dynamic Jodhi Meares (on holidays with her birthdaying mum and family in Italy) has given the beaming pair a thumbs-up. Jodhi posted a pic of the tanned troika on her Instagram feed taken on James’s boat, the Arctic P, with the simple word, Amore. Complete with love heart emojis.

And yes, gossip commentary theorists are trying hard to rationale the Packer-Carey hook-up.

Some are saying it is a huge PR campaign for casino king James to bolster his cred in Las Vegas, where Ms Carey happens to have a residency at Caesar’s Palace. Or to bolster interest in a Christmas film starring Mariah that RatPac, the company James has with Brett Ratner, is making.

Either way, couldn’t it all just be a bit simpler? Like boy meetsgirl. Girl and boy get on together. And then, the show goes on?

No matter the who, what, why and where, the fact the notoriously publicity-shy James looked as happy as a pig in, as he wandered the cobbled streets of Capri, and that he even allowed Jodhi to post an Instagram snap of the happy troika says something.

Jodhi has kept up a very strong bond with James, their connection continuing through any relationship issues she has had while he has always supported her businesses, including her most recent fitness label, The Upside. How many people continue that kind of connection with their ex?

The same with Erica Packer, with whom James shares three divine little people, Indigo, Jackson and Emmanuelle.

Maybe it’s time just to allow these two loved-up peeps, who happen to be high profile and happen to be very rich, to have a mad ole time together, whether it last three weeks, three months, three years or 30 years.

While the pair reportedly met in Aspen, Colorado, at the chic Little Nell Residences, and were introduced to each other by video director producer Brett Ratner, their particular lives may actually be perfect for each other.

Both travel (a lot); both have young families (Mariah has four-year-old twins); both have had marriage setbacks; both are leaders in their fields; and both are used to life on the road, albeit a fairly glossy, up-market, six-star life on the road.

The time has come for even more celebs and their entourages to descend on the Med and hurtle their vessels up and across to the South of France to the picturesque annex of St Tropez or down to Mykonos.

And while money and boat size is king, this latest romance is only going to get only more attention.

And to those who think it is all some sinister marketing ploy at play, lighten up! Who cares?

Isn’t it just nice not to see James rumbling on the footpath with his great pal David Gyngell and looking like the cat who got the cream.

Let’s face it, after many, many years dealing with it, I’m pretty sure Mr Packer and Ms Carey know exactly how to play and handle the media.

This article was originally posted on news.com.au

Why does social media always cop the blame?


TO BLAME social media for an alleged demise in the art and historically rich practice of yoga seems pretty far-fetched.

There is no question that as an Indian physical, mental, and spiritual practice, the broad varieties of yoga have been embraced by Western culture as one of the best forms of physical maintenance and exercise.

But according to Australian National University yoga teacher and PhD student Gina Woodhill, it’s our culture of social media and narcissism, as well as a lack of regulation, that will make the practice of yoga in Australia a challenge.

“There are people who go and do their 200 hours of teacher training and become very arrogant,” Ms Woodhill said. “A lot of people get caught up in ego and showing off on social media. To be a yoga teacher requires more humility than anything else.”

Ms Woodhill was venting her Shiva spleen ahead of International Yoga Day today, saying that for some people who take up yoga because it’s cool, social media can be very negative.

“Contorting your body into a pretzel on Instagram doesn’t mean you are doing yoga, that’s just your body type,’’ she says.

Hang on a minute. Here we go. Let’s blame social media. Again.

Let’s get something right here. With social media, you can choose to opt in. Or opt out. Be part of it. Not be part of it. Or just cruise in and out of it when and if you like.

Anyone who continues with an us-and-them attitude toward social media needs to get over it. It is here. It is vital. And it can’t be wholly and solely blamed for any evil that someone may think it is doing.

The art of yoga does come from a humble place, but so does raising money for charity and boy, the power that social media can bring to raising awareness of philanthropy is boundless.

Social media is here to stay. Whether it’s in our children’s lives, our lives, our parents’ lives, our grandparents’ lives, it is a pervasive part of day-to-day functioning.

And I’m not just talking about taking a mad old filtered selfie while you’re at your next yoga class.

Banking, taking your pulse, shopping, reading news, interacting with mates, dating, rating. They are all accessible by good ole social media platforms and apps.

Sure, your Saturday brekkie, night at the pub, Sunday brunch, day at the beach, party, wedding, divorce, whatever, they are all being captured by one or three of a huge swag of social media platforms. But that is life, now.

Sure, there are and will always be people using social media platforms for purely exploitative and horrendous purposes. Unfortunately, they’re the ones who taint it, so caution is always advised.

But overall, social media is a great way to share elements of life you choose to share. To share with those who you choose or in the case of Instagram, those who choose to follow you.

I don’t get why there should be an issue that a yoga aficionado may want to show their pretzel moves, their downward dog or their sultry salute to the sun?

If they are good at it and that’s their thing, boy, I’d be showing it off too. (Isn’t that was Kim Kardashian does with facial contouring and general posing?)

Social media is a reality. Whether people use when they are on a bus, train, at breakfast, at lunch or sitting in a park.

We used to, and many still do, sit down and read a hard copy newspaper or magazine. Did anyone complain about that? How is reading anything or darting away on your smartphone any different?

The problem is, as soon as you even look at your phone, some people around you assume you are looking for likes or comments or that you’re on “The Twitter”. (Yes, some people still say that.)

The technology surrounding social media is my work tool and one for many other people too. It is as essential to me as a stethoscope is to a doctor or a rig is to a truck driver.

Social media alerts, entertains, informs and allows me and millions others to do so much of our work on the run.

So when I read that Ms Woodhill, who I am sure is one mighty fine, disciplined and integrity-fuelled yoga devotee, believes social media is turning her practice into a vat of narcissism, I really cannot agree.

If anything, when I see an Instagram image of someone doing their yoga pose properly it inspires me. It inspires me to visit Google and find out what time the next class time is at the nearest yoga studio.

So that maybe, just maybe, I can make like a half cobra, a plank, a tree or a hare and say that, yes, I was inspired simply because of the yoga poses I came across on any one of my social media platforms.

This article was originally posted on news.com.au

Should we follow John Singleton’s lead and cut out the drink?


IT ALL usually starts harmlessly enough. A few drinks after work — tonight maybe. Or at lunch, or over the weekend or at home before collapsing with exhaustion onto your lounge as the washing machine whirrs and a semblance of dinner is concocted. That’s just normal, everyday life kind of stuff.

For many of us, we know when to stop drinking. (That said, I bet many of us know lots of high-functioning alcoholics.)

Usually, we know when it is time to either go home, or get to bed and gear your brain into the next day of working, making the school run or taking care of one of hundreds of other life commitments we have.

But when you read that advertising guru, media mogul and self-confessed imbiberJohn Singleton has been warned by doctors he will die if he keeps binge-drinking alcohol, this should trigger a light bulb moment for everyone.

Drinking is part of our world. I like a drink just as much as the vast majority of the Aussie population does. But the key? Moderation.

Without getting all nanny-state, holier-than-thou, there is a stark difference between peeps who drink to live and those who live to drink.

The stark medical caution to the always amiable John Singleton, a man I like, came when his heart rate was monitored at an alarming 220 beats per minute — more than double a healthy rate for his age — forcing him to undergo a cardiac ablation procedure.

His son Jack said surgeons told his father if he continued to booze excessively he faced an early grave: “His doctors told him ‘Your days of having 20-schooner sessions are over. If you do that, you will die’,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

Yes, booze seems to be a constant in our culture and a big part of our national identity. But why does it have to be?

Why do so many of us continue doing something to such an extent that:

1. We ultimately can’t string a sentence together

2. We usually throw up

3. We feel shockingly hung-over, which affects having a normal life that day

4. We’ve just given our one and only liver a work over harder than a Wendell Sailor arm wrestle.

And even worse, we usually say and do things that, well, are often best left unsaid or not done?

Then, a day or two later some of us go back for more and more? I mean, what is it all about?

When I wrote about the brouhaha that surrounded the post cricket World Cup interviews conducted by Shane Warne it struck a chord with so many. Good and bad.

The impact drinking can have on family life — on our relationships, on our health, on our children is astonishing. Alcohol kills 15 Australians a day.

With underage and binge drinking having become a rite of passage for teenagers, the Federal Government should look at introducing measures to discourage mega-drinking like they did by raising taxes and selling plain packaged ciggies.

After this week’s manslaughter verdict after the one-punch that killed Daniel Christie— a punch thrown when McNeil admitted in a police statement that he was affected by alcohol — it’s not bloody good enough.

Perpetrators of major alcohol consumption are ugly. Embarrassing. They’re not empowering. It’s not something to boast or big-note about.

It kills. It can kill innocent bystanders and ultimately it can and will kill, in a very slow and uncomfortable way, heavy drinkers.

So why the hell does anyone want to kill — ahead of scheduled departure time — the one and only life and body we have?

But with all this drinking doom and gloom, there is some heartening news. Not all the stats are bad, with the most recent study released by National Health and Medical Research Council saying younger people are actually minimising their intake of alcohol.

It seems that fewer people aged 12 to 17 are drinking alcohol and the proportion abstaining from alcohol increased significantly between 2010 and 2013 (from 64 to 72 per cent). As well, younger people are continuing to delay when they start drinking.

In 2013, the age at which 14- to 24-year-olds first tried alcohol had increased since 1998 from 14.4 to 15.7 years.

Sure, it is and will be a slow burn but how good is it to see that the message is slowly seeping in, particularly to young peeps who have long lives ahead of them.

While drinking can be absolutely enjoyable (and many of us are in that camp) it can also be totally devastating. It is still a culture that can make for serious health and social problems.

If there is ever a take-home message from any danger-of-too-much booze stories it is simple.

So Australia, yes, we do have a problem and we need not just to talk about it, but need to deal with it.

This article was originally posted on news.com.au

Ian Thorpe part of the country’s Fab 400, gathered to raise a mega $1.4m for sick kids

GOLD is a colour Ian Thorpie is used to in his life.

But this time Thorpie chose to go for gold in a philanthropic sense, lending his support, profile and star power to the country’s most prestigious fundraising event for sick kids.

The $1500 per head event had more than 400 invited guests gather to celebrate the 18th Annual Gold Dinner in support of the sick kids at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.

In grand ‘Gold Dinner’ style, the landmark building was transformed for the evening, spectacularly ‘wallpapered’ in 10 metre high heritage panoramic wallpaper depicting the voyages of Captain Cook.

The images, Les Sauvages de la mer Pacifique, were a gift from the National Gallery of Australia to the hospital to facilitate an extraordinary art installation that was directed by Tony Assness.

With a guest list featuring a who’s who, the Gold Dinner has raised more than $18 million during the past 17 years and now has just about hit the $20 million mark.

Funds raised from this year’s event will provide new Fellowships in four specialised areas of paediatric medicine during the next two years: Pain and Palliative Care, General Surgery, Oncology and Emergency.

A Fellowship is awarded competitively to a doctor already extensively trained in pediatrics, who elects to enter further specialised training in a particular field of paediatric medicine.

This year’s event attracted a stellar crowd including John Symond and Amber Keating, Skye Leckie, Sarah and Robby Ingham, Kelly Landry and Anthony Bell, Scott and Alina Barlow, Justin Miller, Tom and Hoda Waterhouse, Neil and Sam Perry and Clare Paspaley.

There was also Kirsten Carriol and Jean Marc Carriol, Kirsten and Brad Dale, Philip Corne, Nicky and Troy Tindill, Deborah Symond and her brother Stephen Symond.

Meanwhile, the night was hosted by Channel 9’s Allison Langdon and Cameron Williams.

Guests sipped on an antipodean-inspired menu specially designed and donated by Matt Moran and his team at Aria Catering, complemented with drinks by Bollinger and Lion and bid on money-can’t-buy prizes from supporters like Louis Vuitton, Paspaley, One & Only Resorts and Etihad, auctioned by the inimitable Justin Miller.

Gold Dinner committee co-chairs Nikki McCullagh and Chrissy Comino, alongside Gold Dinner Ambassadors Skye Leckie and Lucy Turnbull led the committee to put together the annual event.

The Gold Dinner committee included Alina Barlow, Roslyn Hakim, Rachelle Hofbauer, Sara Lane, Wallis Graham, Vogue’s Edwina McCann and Adriana Weiss while corporate ambassadors, Laing & Simmons Double Bay and Bondi Beach, One & Only and Servcorp were pleased with the funds raised on the night.

The Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO Leanne Warner: “Our Fellowship Program identifies and nurtures excellence, education, vision and innovation and acts as a springboard for Australia’s brightest and best doctors to specialise in their chosen field,’’ she said.

“Fellows deliver immediate clinical impact to their Departments, drive research projects and help to keep our Hospital performing at the highest levels. An investment in our Fellowship Program creates a lasting legacy for the future of children’s healthcare.”

Great, gold stuff all around!

This article was originally posted on news.com.au