There’s a wide variety in theaters this week. There’s R-rated comedy from Seth MacFarlane in Ted, then a stripper movie from Steven Soderbergh called Magic Mike and a drama from a Lost/Star Trek writer in People Like Us. It’s like a buffet of movies, except it’s not all you can eat.Ted
The screenwriters likely put Ted in danger to regain our faltering sympathies. That and because an escaping bear and a climatic scene set in Boston’s Fenway Park are goofy fun.
It’s hard to tell which way is up in “Ted,” but at some point, for me, the laughs won out over the logic.
Ted is profane enough that it’s not a movie real kids should be allowed anywhere near. But it’s also a date movie, and one that MacFarlane has somehow made safe for arrested-development types who wouldn’t be caught dead at a date movie — let alone one about a girl, a guy and a teddy bear.
Verdict: Go See It Magic Mike
The idea of a toy that comes to life — and then won’t go away — isn’t a bad one. Too bad that “Ted” manages to overstay its welcome without ever really coming to life itself.
But it’s surprising how quietly dramatic some of the non-stripping scenes are, and how effective Tatum is in them. His scenes with Cody Horn, in particular, are naturalistic, almost documentary-like in their believability.
Steven Soderbergh seems to have modeled this crowd-pleasing tale about male strippers in Tampa on such gritty 1970s comedies as Bob Rafelson’s Stay Hungryand Michael Ritchie’s The Bad News Bears, whose broad comedy was undercut by an unsentimental view of economic recession.
Magic Mike has a conventional structure, yet a teasing question percolates beneath: If selling yourself is as much fun as this movie makes it look, what could be wrong with it? The answer is that once you’ve sold yourself, losing yourself may not be far behind.
Verdict: Go See It People Like Us
Moviegoers looking for a raunchy romp in Magic Mike are going to be disappointed.
Mired by its mawkish over-earnestness, People Like Us doesn’t actually resemble the behavior of real human beings.
Featuring a touching, funny and occasionally fierce performance by Elizabeth Banks, “People Like Us” is a bit unexpected.
Verdict: Skip It
Surely a heartwarming family drama could double as a love story without resorting to borderline incest, but that’s the weird solution “People Like Us” has hit upon.