If you like Family Guy, you’ll like Ted. If not, you may want to think about it…

Ted is not for everyone. For me? I laughed at about 50% of the jokes and shook my head at remaining 50%. I do the same with Family Guy, so it was not a surprise. What I really did like, was the fact that Seth MacFarlane created a narrative that had some heart. Ted is actually a romantic comedy with a side of bromance thrown in.

Be warned. MacFarlane is rude, crude and offensive and an equal opportunity offender. That does not mean you will not find yourself laughing. Despite yourself at times. The jokes range from juvenile to hilarious and cover plenty of pop culture–à la Family Guy style.  This is pretty much an uncensored, bigger version of a FG episode.  (Even the music seemed to be similar to the TV show–weird.)

What is different is the narrative. I am going to give MacFarlane some credit here. He has created an original story and I appreciated how he made a universe where a walking–talking teddy bear was normal. It is claimed as a “miracle” but the world accepts this concept and it helps to ground the story, so you can just go with it.

The best part though is the unexpected tenderness, depth and heart that goes with all the raunchy shenanigans.  Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and MacFarlane, all have great chemistry and you believe that they have a history together. They keep this film from turning into a mess. I found myself cheering for them and hoping they can work things out. There are also a bunch of cool cameos, the best being a truly creepy villain by Giovanni Ribisi.

That’s it. If you know what to expect and go in willingly, you will enjoy yourself. If you are unsure–don’t do it. Ted is not everyone’s wish come true, but I think that is exactly the way Seth MacFarlane wanted it to be.

 

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The Amazing Spider-Man almost wins me over completely…

Spider-Man, fatally wounded, swings through New York City. Text at the bottom of the reveals the title, release date, release formats, official site of the film, rating and studio credits.

Almost. It was so close. I did like it and although there are many positive points, The Amazing Spider-Man also has a few negative aspects that doesn’t allow it to reach “amazing” status. So close and it could have been the little reboot that could.

First of all, I should start with the fact that I was one of the many that did not understand the need to reboot this franchise. (It really boils down to Marvel rights and money, but…) I loved Raimi‘s vision of Spider-Man (minus 3 which we all know failed miserably–I was brokenhearted 😦 ).  And I was a fan of Tobey Maguire‘s Peter Parker.  Right before I watched the new version, I was still skeptical. If not for the lure of the cast and director Marc Webb (love-love 500 Days of Summer) I would have stayed away.

Then surprisingly I did not hate it! I enjoyed most of it, but overall it failed to totally impress me. The best way, for me, to break this down is comparing them side by side (like the picture below :)).  It may seem unfair, but I can not help comparing the two.  Here are my 10 items of interest.

TASM                                      SM1

1. The origin story is more organic in TASM.  Andrew Garfield‘s Peter Parker is more awkward (kind of Asperger-like), than Maguire’s nerd-dorky version.  And because of that, there is more of a stark contrast between Peter and his alter ego in TASM. Starting as a kid and incorporating his parents’ mysterious death is also a good move.

2. Uncle Ben and Aunt May get an upgrade in TASM.  Sorry, Robertson and Harris, but Martin Sheen and Sally Field are awesome.

3. TASM has given Parker more realistic motivations to pursue super skills. SM1 Parker just wanted a sports car to impress Mary Jane, while in TASM he is pursuing justice/revenge that he eventually never achieves (nice touch). I also like that TASM returns to the comic book version of created mechanical web spinners–it adds more obstacles for our web-slinger.

4. SM1 had unrequited love with popular girl, Mary Jane–who then falls for Spider-Man first.  TASM has a real, mutual attraction between two kind of geeky kids and Gwen Stacy notices and falls for Peter Parker first. **One of my favorite things about reboot!**  It helps that my female crush, Emma Stone, is wonderful and the chemistry between her and Garfield is electric.  (No wonder they’re a real couple now.)

5. Director Webb succeeds in creating an intimate, character based narrative that is richer than Raimi’s version.  But where Webb falters, in action and scope, Raimi out shines him.

6. SM1 does not forget that New York City is an integral part of the Spider-Man lore.  NYC is a character in Raimi’s version, as it should be.  I never felt like NYC was a part of TASM–it all felt too generic.  There was only one part that showed New Yorker’s love for Spidey, but it was too little of a gesture.  (Shout out to Denis Leary for bringing some authentic NY to the screen.)

7. When it come to action sequences, Raimi wins–hands down.  Webb is able to create some realistic fight scenes, with some creative moves, but overall it feels small (again, intimate).  Raimi was able to reach grand heights–bold, incredible sequences. Sorry, but in a superhero movie that is essential.  You want to be impressed!  Unfortunately, TASM never reaches that level.

8. The villain.  A villain can make or break a film.  An awesome villain can save a mediocre film and a weak villain can destroy a strong film.  For TASM, the Lizard fails to add the needed awesomeness.  I like Rhys Ifans and his performance is okay–but not great.  But, the real problem is the plausibility of his character’s arch.  I have major issues with how and mostly, why, his story takes the path it does. It must also be mentioned that the CGI effects on the Lizard were a bit cheesy. **Sigh.**  At least in SM1, the Green Goblin’s evolution feels real and Willem Dafoe is amazing.

9.  What is up with the backpack?  Sorry, just had to ask because it was a bit distracting. 🙂 And other major plot holes–what happen to the evil Oscorp dude? Left on the bridge? And WTF with the after credit scene? Pointless.

(PS I did like the new look of the Spidey suit.)

10. Sequels.  Well, let us be honest.  SM2 is one of the best superhero movies ever–with one of the best villains ever.  Whether TASM 2 can top SM2 is yet to be seen. But maybe…with all the positive aspects it does have and… if they can score a director with a wider scope for action and…they introduce a strong villain–maybe…just maybe they can truly impress me–completely.  And this time I will be looking forward to it.

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