1. Ted (Universal, 3,239 Theaters, 106 Minutes, Rated R): It’s hard to imagine when Seth MacFarlane wasn’t one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. Family Guy was cancelled after three seasons and it looked like he might just fade into the ether.
However, Family Guy got an unheard of reprieve on FOX after it became a hit as part of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim line-up. FOX gave it another chance on the network, the new found fans followed it back, and soon enough, MacFarlane add American Dad! and The Cleveland Show to the FOX line-up, lining his pockets all the way.
And now, films. This one has an interesting premise (a childhood wish for a bear that could come to life has different implications when the kid grows up) and a good supporting cast, but, for me at least, Mark Wahlberg seems miscast in the lead role. Not to be ageist, but I feel the part would have been better served with a younger actor.
Loosely based on the real-life adventures of star Channing Tatum’s days as a stripper, the film focuses on a young man being taught the stripping ropes by a more experienced dancer. All directed by Steven Soderburgh (?).
I have no idea how how this film will do at the box office. I did get the cover story in Entertainment Weekly, but that was back in May. The film looks like either a drama or a comedy, depending on what ad you saw. It does have a good ensemble cast. But will it draw a big enough audience to make some money? We’ll see.
3. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection (Lionsgate, 2,161 Theaters, 114 Minutes): Tyler Perry once seemed to be a sure-fire box office draw. He had a built in audience and every film he did seemed automatic to debut at number one. He’s been struggling of late, but this latest film seems to be an attempt to reach a larger demographic.
Eugene Levy and Denise Richards star as the Needlemans, a family that has to enter witness protection. Why? Because Levy’s character was accused of running a Ponzi scheme that somehow the Mob was involved in. How were they involved? I don’t know. But I also don’t know why Madea’s house was chosen as the Needlemans hiding spot either.
The Madea movies still do well at the box office, but I doubt this film could beat the other films released this week, let alone Brave.
4. People Like Us (Touchstone, 2,055 Theaters, 115 Theaters, Rated PG-13): Chris Pine stars as a man who finds out while settling his late father’s estate that his father, well, got around. Got around so much that his father fathered a daughter with another woman.
He does what anyone would do in this kind of situation–he tracks his sister down, infiltrates her life without ever once telling her who he is. She does the natural thing when a cute young man ingratiates himself into her life and becomes a positive role model for her son. She falls in love with him.
All brought to us by the writers of Star Trek, Cowboys and Aliens and Transformers. Of course.