Buy me!

MSRP: $29.98
RUNNING TIME: 88 Minutes
• Commentary with Seth McFarlane, Seth Green, other writers and actors.
• Animatic comparison with final version
• Uncensored audio track

Allow me to begin with this: Pound for pound and episode for episode, Family Guy is funnier than The Simpsons. There, I’ve said it. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy The Simpsons, I love it. Both shows have had their ups and downs, but I find that FG has me laughing more often than Homer and Co. I have no intention of arguing the point, so don’t bother posting to the boards about it. (Misfit, I’m looking at you…) I’m simply trying to give you a frame of reference before proceeding with this review.

Beware the Gandolfini footage…

The Flick

Stewie Griffin – The Untold Story tells the tale of Stewie (the youngest member of the family) setting out to San Francisco to find his real father. The trip is sparked when Stewie and Brian see a man interviewed on the news that bears a striking resemblance to Stewie. (He also bears a striking resemblance to the "old" Stewie going through the phone bill in a previous episode) Stewie and Brian hitch a ride on Quagmire’s "Cross-Cuntry Tour" (not a misspelling) and the movie sets off. Stewie eventually finds the man he saw, but discovers that the gentleman isn’t his real father (exactly). The film ends with Stewie time-traveling to thirty years in the future and attempting to change the man-who-would-be-Stewie’s life for the better. (I’m not exactly spoiling anything here, because the plot is a framework on which to hang jokes.) That is as concise a plot summary as I can muster with the trademark FG flashbacks and subplots detailed a bit later.

Devin Faraci, in the year 2013.

While I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a road movie, but most of the second act/ep takes place on the road, so label it what you will. Before I go too far into things, I should mention that the movie itself only runs about 65 minutes. The bumpers before and after the actual “film” are almost better than the film itself, though, and are worth watching in their own right. A news broadcast frames the film, with the local news anchors covering the "premiere" of the Family Guy film. Of course, Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa is the reporter on the scene and has a hilarious scene when David Bowie appears on the red carpet, entering the theater. While the crux of the flick is Stewie and Brian’s trip, there are a couple sub-plots that bear mentioning. First, Peter gets a job on the nightly news with his segment "You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?". Its an Andy Rooney take off of him spouting nonsense and the town falling all over itself to see more of him. Also, Lois and Peter find themselves having less time for each other, so they decide to teach Chris and Meg how to "attract a mate" to get them out of the house. Don’t worry, though. The molestation territory that FG dipped a foot into last season is thankfully absent.

While purists loved it, the second edition of Matt Wagner’s Trinity left a lot of people thinking he had really let his artistic side go.

My biggest concern coming into this was whether or not the Family Guy dipped a foot into last season is thankfully absent. brand of humor would hold up over what is, essentially, a 90-minute episode. For the most part, it does, with the first and second "episodes" coming in as everything you’ve come to expect from FG. They’ve got the asides and flashbacks, the one frame falls and everything else. The problem comes in the third act, which, try as I might I just didn’t find all that funny. There are funny lines and some one-hit jokes, but the situations seem to go from absurdist and funny to more straight-laced and linear. There also comes a point where the plot plays out as a straight drama, with some humor thrown in and it is this portion that doesn’t work. It really isn’t what I expected from this particular show and the transition is a bit jarring. It might work in certain sitcoms ("A very special episode of My Two Dads") but when you open the movie with Phineas and Barnaby breaking out of the pokey after being arrested on steroid charges, the dramatic just ain’t gonna work.

Finally, a store devoted solely to the careers of Treat Williams and the lesser Baldwin brothers. It would later compete with ‘Overrated Video’ and ‘The SNL Store’.

Even with my qualms about the third act, don’t be dissuaded. If you’re a Family Guy fan, you’ll dig the movie without question. You just may find yourself reaching for the fast forward button around Chapter 23 or so. And finally, the crazy monkey joke was funny once. The callback was amusing. But I’m terribly sick of him now… Can we get rid of him, please?

8.3 out of 10

I’ve got no funny caption here, just a profound love of Richard Dawson.

The Look

Animation has a much wider spectrum of looks than most films, especially throwing anime (and hentai!) into the mix. This is at the end of the spectrum with Beetle Bailey and KISS Saves Santa, so I can’t put too high an expectation on the transfer. It’s a line art show, but it doesn’t disappoint. However, I’ve got a question for the more technically astute readers out there. Why is it that when I pause Family Guy (whether on cable with Tivo or on a DVD), it looks as though none of the frames have been anti-aliased? I see this once in a while on Simpsons DVDs, but it seems pretty pervasive throughout for Family Guy.

6.8 out of 10

Fox Legal had worked diligently to get their boilerplate actor’s contract down to as few words as possible.

The Noise

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Family Guy deserves an Emmy for its musical numbers. Admittedly, it can do more than any live action show can do with its environments, but the songs they do are damn hell ass good. There are a couple of pseudo-musical numbers in SG – TUS and they sound pretty good. Again, I don’t think that the same level of pain-staking attention to detail goes into mixing a show about hookers and post-op transvestites, so temper your expectations accordingly and you won’t be disappointed.

7.5 out of 10

So I says to the British, “Hey! Hit me again and I’ll charge you with a-salt! Get it? Salt?”

The Goodies

Standard extras rules apply here. There’s a commentary track with a rotating cast of the voice actors and showrunners. Macfarlane himself holds court on the whole disc while Mila Kunis, Alex Borstein, and Seth Green (among others) drift in and out across the three episodes that make up the film. There are several animatics (rough animated segments) thrown in as well, but these are novelties at best, you won’t watch them more than once. There are also “previews” of Family Guy Season Three and American Dad, both of which have been airing for quite some time. This movie was supposed to be released much earlier than it was, but watching these is akin to seeing a trailer for a movie you’ve already seen.

7.0 out of 10

After Lucy had stolen and burned his blanket, Linus found the Taliban.

The Artwork

Well, it’s a large percentage of Stewie’s football shaped head. While the film revolves around Stewie, there had to be a better graphic to use. In addition, I have a problem with them using the “All-New Outrageous Uncensored!” banner as a subtitle. I’m sure it entices 13 year old boys to want it more and hits that all-important young adult demo, but it’s pretty superfluous when it comes to the actual images on the box. Especially one with a cartoon noggin taking up 2/3 of the box already.

3.5 out of 10

James Lipton in Ghost Hands.

Overall: 8.2 out of 10