The Family Guy evokes strong reactions. Either you love it and think it’s Brian the mutt’s nuts, or you hate it, deeming it to be a King of the Hill/The Simpsons clone. If you’ve pitched your tent in the first camp, the idea of a Family Guy movie is probably as exciting as a colossal present on Christmas morning, and here’s why…
The now cult series has fought to stay on television. It has been cancelled and resurrected three times by American broadcaster, Fox – its renewal thanks, in part, to an online petition. Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story!, Family Guy’s first film, is therefore a very welcome and triumphant homecoming for the series – and a reward to its loyal fans.
Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story! predominantly focuses on – yes, that’s right – Stewie, the matricidal and maniacal baby, voiced by writer/ creator Seth MacFarlane. Following a near death encounter, wannabe world genius Stewie sees a man on television that looks like him. Convinced the stranger is his real father, Stewie (with Brian in tow – their interaction is, as always, brilliant) crosses the country to meet him.
Die-hard Family Guy fans will not be disappointed. It has the show’s unique lowbrow and highbrow humour, swearing, un-PC jokes (eg. Walt Disney’s first words upon being unfrozen), jibes at minorities (how a Griffin relative made Ray Charles blind), random moments (Peter providing night time heat for Lara Flynn Boyle by covering her with his enormous belly) and copious pop-culture references, including the death of Bugs Bunny, Thundercats, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and many, many more.
However, despite being billed as a film’, really Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story! is three yet-to-be-aired episodes tagged together. As a result, the story is quite weak, falling into obvious acts. This is particularly evident in the other Griffin’s storylines.
Fortunately, book-ending the film is unique to the DVD footage. Topping it is the Griffin’s arrival at the film premier; tailing it is the wrap party and interviews with the characters, who explain what they did during the series hiatus. (Meg as Cher entertaining’ American troops is just plain scary…)
Equally as funny as the many jokes in Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story! are the pot-shots those behind the film take at their enemies. At one point, Stewie kills an Entertainment Weeklyreporter. In good sport, the film also ribs itself. For example at the premier, Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa says the film will be a “straight to DVD feature that will soon be in the $3.99 bin at your local car wash.”
All in all, sadly Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story! isn’t as good as other animated cartoon series that spawned films such as South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. But if you are a Family Guy devotee, this won’t matter a smidgen.