What can you say about a movie featuring a boy and his stuffed bear? Ted, starring Mark Wahlberg, is just the latest in the recent trend of successful R-Rated comedies that has hit its stride in recent years with The Hangover and The Hangover Part II, Knocked Up, Wedding Crashers, Bridesmaids and similar fare. If you haven’t seen it yet, Ted is the story of a boy who wishes that his childhood teddy bear were alive. Well, when you are eight years old it’s cool to have a living teddy bear. However, when you’re in your thirties and still living with said bear, who now is now a booze swilling, foul mouthed and generally obnoxious character, it can provide its fair share of…challenges.
Ted, voiced by the movie’s director and writer Seth MacFarlane, turns a young child’s fantasy into a raunchy adult comedy that will make you laugh ‘til you cry. At its heart, Ted takes a simple idea that a lot of people can identify with and makes it so preposterously overblown that we can’t help but wonder what outrageousness is going to happen next. The Hangover takes a similar tack…guys go to Vegas for a bachelor party and end up losing the groom during a night of booze fueled fun. If something can go wrong, it will. The same with last summer’s breakout hit Bridesmaids. What happens when a simple girl from Milwaukee gets stuck in the middle of culture shock when her best friend decides to get married to a wealthy country club type from, O-M-G, Illinois?!
If there is one thing that many of these R-Rated comedies have in common it’s a mushy center that resonates with audiences. Ted is really a love story (maybe a love triangle if you include Mila Kunis who plays Mark Whalberg’s girlfriend)about a boy and his bear. Bridesmaids is a story about how true friendship trumps class and how true love takes a lot of work to find. Even American Reunion grounded its confused characters in heartfelt reality – sort of. This goes to show that raunchy doesn’t necessarily just mean crude, lewd and rude, although in a comedy like Ted it goes a long way.
Also in July...
The month kicks into high gear on July 3 with The Amazing Spider-Man starring
real-life loves Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. The franchise that spawned three very successful films starring Tobey Maguire as Spidey is reborn after just five years. Too soon? It won’t take Spidey Sense to find out whether it was a good idea or not.
Oliver Stone returns to his Natural Born Killers narrative style with Savages, the story of two small time California pot growers who somehow become entangled in a violent war with a Mexican drug cartel. John Travolta is in a cast that also includes Benicio del Toro, Salma Hayek and Blake Lively. Savages opens July 6.
Katy Perry: Part of Me, opening July 5, is part bio and part concert film in the vein of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. (See, it even uses the colon after the artist’s name).
Families can rush back to theatres on July 13 to catch the latest adventures of Manny, Diego and Sid in Ice Age: Continental Drift in 3-D.
July 20 is the date for the third and final film in the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Dark Knight series. In The Dark Knight Rises, Bale is
back as Batman who faces the villainous Bane (not to be confused with Mitt’s similar sounding business) and Anne Hathaway’s slinky Catwoman. Will Batman knock off the Avengers at the biggest grossing film of the year? Stay tuned. Same Bat time and same Bat Channel.
The Watch hits theatres on July 27. The title used to be Neighborhood Watch, but since that name might remind people of George Zimmerman, the movie is now just The Watch. Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill are all “watchers” who end up being the firewall against aliens invading their neighborhood.
The month ends with Step Up Revolution, also opening July 27. At least there is no colon between Up and Revolution in the title of this 3-D movie about a young woman who comes to Miami with dreams of becoming a professional dancer.
The summer keeps rolling and next month we’ll look at August and beyond but, in the meantime, what movies are you most looking forward to seeing this July?