Ted vs Magic Mike: Can Small and Fluffy Beat Out Buff and Sweaty?
Since February 10, 2011, audiences have been patiently awaiting Seth MacFarlane’s feature-length directorial debut. Ted – an R Rated, satyrical snap at a demographic refusing to let go of pop culture past – is finally hitting box offices June 29th.
As in, this Friday. As in, this Friday when boatloads upon boatloads of ladies will flock to see Matthew McConaughey, Channing Tatum, and Alex Pettyfer strip. In G-strings. Shirtless.
And while Ted is highly anticipated, thanks to relentless fan fare fed by Family Guy, the power associated with women in numbers is threatening MacFarlane with a box-office flop.
Aided by Family Guy co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, much of MacFarlane’s signature schticks can be expected. By now, potential audiences have already seen trailer images of a cute, cuddly teddy bear chasing women like he’s The Situation, and cursing like he’s Howard Stern. However, aside from the slapstick humor and inappropriate antics, MacFarlane has managed to poke fun at the very culture that has made him ridiculously rich. In order to successfully avoid paying bills, landing a 9-5, and being a responsible adult, one must hold on to the entertainment that defined the very childhood one is prolonging.
Scott Mendelson agrees in his movie review in The Huffington Post, writing, “For those in our generation who refuse to truly grow up, the entertainment of our past is a crutch for furthering the cause of arrested development. That MacFarlane would craft a film so critical of both his core demographic for indulging in one of the key components of his own joke box is an act of genuine bravery.” Aside from the obvious symbolism a talking Teddy Bear creates, are numerous references to dated iconic pastimes. As the tenacious Ted and the pitiful protagonist, John (Mark Wahlberg), attempt to let go of their carefree pasts in order to securely hold onto their responsible futures; such pastimes are used as examples of Ted and John’s pathetic plight. In doing so, MacFarlane lends his voice (literally) to a unified call-to-action:
Get off your couch. Get a job. Grow up.
And with a budget of $65 million, that is one. Big. Call.
Now, whether or not a disrespectful teddy bear can beat out Channing Tatum and his gang of half-naked male strippers at the box office, is yet to be seen. While half-naked gorgeous men are enticing enough, Magic Mike has been promoted as a film of substance as well; highlighting the downfall of such a fast-paced, party-animal, money-driven lifestyle. Profound drug use, exhausted relationships, and broken spirits are given as much screen time as Tatum’s abs and McConaughey’s pecs. So if this box-office blunder turns out to be a battle of moral lessons, Ted is far from the sure winner.
Perhaps Ted should have spent more time pumping out push-ups, and less time attempting to impress cashiers.