Cert: 15 Runtime: 106 mins Director: Seth MacFarlane Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Giovanni Ribisi and Patrick Stewart
No matter how big a splash you make in this world whether you’re Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, Justin Bieber or a talking teddy bear, eventually, nobody gives a shit
Well Ted is Family Guy/American Dad/Cleveland Shows creator Seth MacFarlane’s directorial début.It has been very well advertised in the UK and I would assume much of the public want to watch it. Since the tender age of 11 I have been watching Family Guy and even though I didn’t understand the comedy I still loved it.MacFarlane’s trademark mix of cutting satire and slapstick comedy setup worked its charm in TED, delivering plenty of laughs, and even a little heart, for anyone who can handle the film’s risqué on screen escapades.So how about the plot?John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is the loneliest kid in Boston. While the other children engage in unique Christmas traditions, John spends his days inside, wishing for just one friend. On Christmas Day, that wish comes true in the form of Ted the stuffed bear (MacFarlane), who is magically transformed into a living being, the miraculous story of which spreads like wildfire across the country. Fast-forward nearly thirty years and Ted’s fame has long-since vanished. He and John now spend their days getting high, watching bad movies and managing John’s relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis).
MacFarlane voices the titular character, best friend to Walberg’s Jon. When Jon makes a wish as a kid for his teddy bear to come to life it does, becomes a sensation, and becomes Jon’s best friend. If you were wondering how, exactly, the whole teddy bear come to life thing works in the real world sense, it does, and the history of Jon and Ted is told early in the film in a pretty damn funny narration. I will say that, while Ted may be a very interesting idea, and the whole notion of a raunchy teddy bear acting like a man-child is pretty funny in and of itself, Ted could easily have been replaced by a normal person, and the film would be as funny. It’s Seth’s writing and humor that shine here.MacFarlane has always done good voice work on Family Guy and American Dad, and it translates here pretty well. Ted is obviously the voice of Peter Griffin, and you can’t shake that feeling, but Ted also comes into his own as a character. The idea of a raunchy, foul mouthed, man-child teddy bear faded on me pretty quick, which goes to show how well the film was done. Ted’s interaction with people never feels weird or out of place. It comes naturally and everyone does a great job of interacting with him. Props to Mila Kunis and especially Mark Walberg, who once again proves that he can do great at comedy. This is a role uncommon for Mark, and where he was a funny guy in The Other Guys, he’s even funnier here.
MacFarlane proves fairly adept at taking to the camera for the first time and directing his actors. Nothing here is spectacular, I’d even say the film is fairly predictable, but the comedy is gold here. It doesn’t hit with a continuous rhythm, but when it hits, it’s laugh out loud funny. But, like I said, it’s a lot of the usual MacFarlane humor, pulling out some odd pop-culture references here and there, making lingering jokes, and even some very odd, wtf moments. I did, a few times, raise my hands in a wtf gesture. Luckily, the film also has heart. Ted is a little bit too obvious as an object for Jon, who has trouble putting away childish things, but Ted and Jon’s relationship shines as honest and natural. Even if Ted is a teddy bear, you still accept what he and Jon have.Ted certainly isn’t a perfect comedy. A number of jokes fall flat if you don’t get the pop references or are into some of the ongoing bits, like those involving Flash Gordon (although, I did find all the Flash Gordon stuff pretty amusing). The script also has a few issues being a bit cliché and staying too long on certain jokes. Much like Family Guy, some stuff here just isn’t that funny or stays on too long. But, the majority of the film is funny. I certainly laughed out loud quite a bit. So, if you enjoy the MacFarlane brand of humor and find yourself at a loss for comedies this summer, Ted should entertain you quite a bit.