DVD Review: Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story
Release Date: September 27, 2005
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
· Peter Shin
· Pete Michels
· Seth MacFarlane
· Alex Borstein
· Mila Kunis
· Seth Green
by Tony Pascarella
Published: October 5, 2005
Fox's Family Guy has lately caught on with fans in the wake of its cancellation and subsequent reappearance on the network. Created by witty jack-of-all-trades Seth MacFarlane, the series features MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis (That 70's Show), and the ever-funny Seth Green as the animatedly wacky Griffin family. They certainly bear a resemblance to Fox's other animated family, The Simpsons, but this family strives to put the funk in "dysfunctional." Infant Stewie has an IQ comparable to most scholars and the ego to prove it, while Peter as the breadwinner can sometimes barely put one foot in front of the other. Talking family pet Brian is often Stewie's balance and sidekick (and a drinking problem to boot). The Griffins are anchored by stay-at-home mom Lois, who has more than a few tricks up her sleeve. Their other two kids, the awkward and pudgy Chris (Green) and insecure Meg (Kunis) round out the motley crew.
"Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story" seems to date from the block of time following the series' cancellation and its renewal, given some of the dialogue in the later parts. In essence, it is 88 minutes of Family Guy, with what started as three episodes blended together into a movie. The episode transitions are relatively seamless, and they allow a couple of storylines to evolve over the course of the movie. One of the first things you should know is MacFarlane certainly doesn't waste time now that he doesn't have censors to curb his wit.
You'll hear the f-word dropped about half a dozen times in the movie (assuming you play the DVD with the uncensored audio), and a few other bits of language here and there. There really is something mildly amusing about hearing an infant tell someone to "stick a fucking sock in it, you cow." The raunchy sense of humor we've all grown to love gets a chance to evolve further. "The Untold Story" manages to throw in some fart jokes, and of course enough sexual tension to get you to randomly burst out laughing at some sequences.
"Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story" kicks off with everyone's favorite Quahog news duo Tom Tucker (MacFarlane) and Diane Simmons (Lori Alan) introducing the family on an Entertainment Tonight-esque segment. Their movie, in which Stewie is the star, is about to premiere; as the stars arrive on the red carpet, hilarity ensues as Mayor Adam West (played by the ex-Batman himself) and David Bowie meet and greet the press. There is a brief segue into the movie itself (complete with a goofy Looney Tunes montage as the opening credits), where we see Stewie taking swim lessons. In a fit of rage, the toddler lets his egomania get to him, resulting in an accident. During a recovery period, the youngest member of the clan sees a man on television who looks strikingly similar to himself, living in San Francisco. Stewie decides that this man, whom even Brian admits looks like him, must be his real father. He can't be related to an imbecile like Peter, can he?
So begins Stewie's quest to find this man. While I'll leave the rest of the movie to your viewing pleasure, some of the comedic sequences that follow are absolutely brilliant, while others feel reused and thrown in for a not-so-cheap laugh. What ultimately results is probably one of the best ideas MacFarlane and his writers have come up with, but the execution comes off a bit flawed. There are also spots in the movie that border on amazingly dull, as too much is fleshed out in dialogue when it could be even better with visual humor. Overall, it's a pretty decent addition to the hardcore Family Guy fan's DVD collection. Just don't expect something that will keep you laughing for days.
The special features of this DVD include audio commentary with the creator, cast, and writers, an "animatic comparison," which basically takes two scenes of the movie and shows how they were animated in the first place (you can view them side-by-side using the angle button), a preview of the Family Guy Volume 3 DVD, and a preview of American Dad. Hopefully you won't be buying this DVD for the special features alone; if so, you may be a bit disappointed. That said, "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story" is an above average DVD that should produce some giggles, chuckles, and maybe even a few bouts of outright hilarity.