This weekend feels more like something out of September than mid-summer. There’s the R-rated comedy, the adult drama, the light-weight drama and a Tyler Perry movie. Which of these four shouts summer to you?
This week, let’s run down the list from widest release to smallest. The biggest movie is surprising to me. Opening on 3,239 screens is Seth MacFarlane’s live-action directorial debut, ‘Ted‘. As one would expect (and hope for), this R-rated comedy about a grown boy and his bear is like a live-action version of ‘Family Guy‘. It’s crude, vulgar, offensive, repugnant and – most importantly – absolutely hilarious. Mark Wahlberg plays a grown man whose teddy bear was magically brought to life 20-something years ago. When his girlfriend (Mila Kunis) gives him an ultimatum, he realizes that it’s impossible to pick one over the other.
The second widest release of the weekend is an R-rated drama about male strippers. Don’t be fooled by the advertisements. While there may be some well-earned laughs, ‘Magic Mike‘ is a drama. Channing Tatum stars as Tampa’s hottest male stripper – but he has aspirations of becoming much much more… like a creative furniture designer. No joke. That’s the plot. This Steven Soderbergh film starts off very strong, but ultimately falls victim to genre clichés.
On 2,161 screens, the third widest release is [take a deep breath to spout out this possessive noun-laden title] ‘Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection‘. Perry has once again strapped on his cross-dressing fat suit. This time, Madea takes on the mob in a Ponzi scheme. It will be interesting to see how ‘Witness Protection’ performs after the slump of Perry’s last release, the non-Madea ‘Good Deeds’.
The final wide opener of the weekend is ‘People Like Us‘, a drama starring Chris “Captain Kirk” Pine and Elizabeth Banks, which opens on 2,055 screens. Pine and Banks play two strangers who learn that they’re really long lost siblings. Surprisingly, the writing team behind ‘People Like Us’ also gave us ‘Alias’, ‘Star Trek‘, ‘Mission: Impossible III‘, ‘Revenge of the Fallen‘ (damn them), ‘Cowboys & Aliens‘, ‘The Proposal‘, ‘Eagle Eye‘ and ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’. This also marks the feature film directorial debut of writer Alex Kurtzman.
The much-hyped Sundance 2012 title ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild‘ was picked up by Fox Searchlight and begins its limited release on four screens. While the Sundance vibe was highly in favor of ‘Beasts’, I managed to make it through the festival without knowing anything about the story until now. The quick synopsis on IMDb has me both baffled and intrigued. “Faced with her father’s fading health and environmental changes that release an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy leaves her Delta-community home in search of her mother.” What the hell? I’m in.
Jonathan Demme’s documentary ‘Neil Young Journeys‘ finally hits screens. The 65-year-old Young took his solo acoustic show back to his hometown of Toronto last year. For this intimate doc, Young tours Demme around to the places that influenced him and his music the most. As a fan of the folk star, I can’t wait to see ‘Journeys’.