Friday Flicks: Will Ted Catapault Seth MacFarlane into the Big Leagues?

Grab some popcorn and check out the movies you should see (or avoid) this weekend.

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People Like Us

Tagline: All roads lead home.

If the term “dramedy” makes you cringe – and quite frankly, why wouldn’t it – will you have to reassess in light of People Like Us? Another movie inspired by true events this week (let’s all be grateful that Ted is 100% fiction), Alex Kurtzman’s debut feature stars Chris Pine as Sam, a salesman whose latest deal falls apart on the same day his life does with the sudden death of his father. Reluctantly playing the role of the dutiful son, Sam returns home to put his father’s affairs in order and reconnect with his family. And that’s where the waters get muddied even further, with Sam discovering a secret that probably warrants a spoiler alert so we’ll just leave it there.

In a solid week of new releases, the critical reaction to this movie is arguably even higher than your other options. “People Like Us is a certifiable adult drama built atop sturdy thematic supports, a rare enough item these days,” notes the Village Voice. “People Like Us is informed by real feelings uncorked like a lost bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon hidden away in a dark corner of a private wine cellar” is the poetic verdict delivered by the New York Observer. And though the Hollywood Reporter doesn’t drink the kool-aid (or possibly Cabernet) with quite the same gusto (“As overcranked as it is — the film is directed as if it were an action drama, with two or three times more cuts than necessary — People Like Us has a persuasive emotional pull at its heart that’s hard to deny”) it’s clear that Kurtzman is a name to watch.

LIST: TIME’s Top 10 Films of 2011

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: There’s little to choose between the week’s impressive releases so your personal preferences should dictate whether you want to watch male strippers, a teddy bear or a family drama.

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