Showing posts with label seth macfarlane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seth macfarlane. Show all posts

Sunday, July 8, 2012

movie review: 'ted'

Short version: Yeah, I know that this review is late, and I should be talking about Chris Brown. Fuck that, I don't care, I just saw the movie, and I want to talk about it. As it is, it's a great comedy with Seth MacFarlane finally bringing his A-game. Great acting from the leads on a utterly conventional and unessential plot, but still definitely worth seeing as it's probably one of the funniest movies you'll see this year. Go see this movie. 

Longer version...

You know, you can't talk about Ted without talking about Seth MacFarlane, and you can't talk about MacFarlane without talking about Family Guy, so let's get this part out of the way quickly (I've never watched American Dad or The Cleveland Show, so I can't and won't comment on them). Yes, I liked Family Guy. I think the first five seasons are damn excellent with some clever gags, some surprisingly deft dialogue, some quirky subtext, and some actual genuine heart you wouldn't expect. My favourite character is Brian (obviously), with Stewie and Peter being close seconds. I found the show to be genuinely entertaining, a great way to waste time, and the more clever of the pop culture references always amused me. 

And then... something happened. It was after it had been moved to Adult Swim, and after 'Blue Harvest', the first Star Wars themed episode, but I can't quite pinpoint the exact moment when it happened. What I do know is that after that point, Family Guy stopped being the consistently funny and occasionally heartwarming show I liked and became something else. And that something else was darker, more cynical, and loaded with the kind of anti-humour gags that only work on Adult Swim when you're baked out of your mind. The show began relying much more heavily on cut-away gags that rarely worked as well as they should have, and even some of the novelty episodes began feeling phoned in (this was present in both 'Something Something Dark Side' and 'It's A Trap!', the followup Star Wars episodes). It began in Season 6 and then actively got a lot worse in Season 7 and 8 - suddenly, outside of a few glimmering moments like 'Brian & Stewie' and the 'Road To...' episodes, the show got a lot less watchable. The show became a depressing, angry shell of its former self, and I really found it unpleasant. And plenty of critics agreed, attacking the show for its reliance on cheap shock humour, bad cutaway gags, and terrible pop culture references. Even Seth MacFarlane admitted he wasn't a fan of what Family Guy had become.

So when Ted was announced, a film that Seth MacFarlane wrote, directed, and starred in, I was a little nervous about how good it could possibly be. I was sure that some of the traditional Family Guy tropes would be there, but which would he include, and which would work? Would it be like Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, a critical flop because it took the excuse of an R-rating and cranked up the scatological humour without a better script, using the higher budget to make everything bigger and more stupid? Or would it be like the excellent Simpsons movie, a show that harkened back to the best of the source material, simply making it bigger and better along the way?