Your Labor Day weekend at the discount theaters includes the appearance of a foul-mouthed stuffed animal and a comic-book hero.
The Amazing Spider-Man re-launches the story of the costumed crime fighter, with Andrew Garfield as the kid bitten by a mutant spider. And it's a frustrating interpretation, not just in comparison to Sam Raimi's transcendent first two Spidey films but on its own terms. Despite some solid chemistry between Garfield and Emma Stone, this version loses all of the moral strength at the center of the character in favor of something shallow and purely kinetic.
Equally shallow, but at least a bit more entertaining, is Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane's feature debut Ted, about a 30-something slacker (Mark Wahlberg) who once made a wish for his stuffed animal to come to life, and still hangs out with the animal (voiced by MacFarlane) in adulthood. The gags are characteristically hit-and-miss, the story's ideas about finding maturity muddled by the crudest possible punch lines. A little MacFarlane goes a long way.
Finally, there's Tyler Perry's latest Madea tale Madea's Witness Protection, which actually spends more time with a guy hiding from criminals (Eugene Levy) than with Perry's titular matriarch. If you're looking to spend time with Madea, you already know what you're getting.