FILM REVIEW: Ted

4

F*%#K you thunder!

Genre:  Comedy, Fantasy
Director:  Seth MacFarlane
Writers:  Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Cast:  Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane
Produced by:  Fuzzy Door Productions
Distributed by:  Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating:  R

 

SYNOPSIS

Family Guy show creator Seth MacFarlane takes his first dive into feature films with the classic tale of childhood friends growing up together.   As young lonely child, John Bennett made a wish upon a star for his teddy bear to come to life and become his B.F.F.  Queue the absorbed whimsical music now.  Flash forward twenty some odd years later. Their bond is put to the test when Lori, John’s girlfriend, wants a deeper relationship.  Which can’t happen with Ted being John’s thunder buddy.   Is this twist on the old buddy comedy enough to make you laugh out loud or is this story just stuffed with cotton filling?

 

STORY

Minus the childhood exposition and opening montage, the story picks up four years into the relationship between John Bennett (Mark Walhberg) and Lori Collins (Mila Kunis).  Which was handled quite nicely.  Unlike most comedies in the same vein, the film subtracted the beginning of dating process.  The fact that I didn’t have to sit through the entire awkwardness of John explaining his walking, talking stuff bear; was a plus.  This allows us to delve into an already established odd couple situation enabling better pacing overall.

I relished how the intro montage was handled and narrated by the soothing tones of Patrick Stewart (American Dad).  His eloquent nonchalant voice explains how the world was first shocked at the miracle of Ted, the talking toy bear.  “But eventually no one gives a damn” being his ending monologue had me tearing up slightly.  It was now established that the world was aware of Ted incredible existence.  But like all 80’s child celebrities, their fame has faded.  The premise where a world has grown tired of a live talking plushy, with no further scientific investigation, is funny on its own.  Given the context, just suspend disbelief and enjoy the film folks.  DON’T OVER THINK IT!

If you like MacFarlane’s previous works, you will like this film without a doubt.  My fellow blogger Jordan Wade was concern upon the first viewing of the trailer.  He, like most others, had been recently turned off by recent years of Family Guy episode due Seth’s injection of his political views into the show.  Rest easy folks.  This is classic MacFarlane at his best.  I’m sorry, but it’s hard not to draw comparison to his primetime shows.  But the movie does stand well on its own merits.  Yes, there are similar tones and comedic tropes just like Family Guy.  Yes, there are 80’s pop culture references, and yes, there are some flash back sequences, but the humor works nonetheless.

4/5

 

ACTING

Because of clever writing, directing, and execution; all the characters were genuinely portrayed, yes even the damn bear.  Wahlberg’s character comes off likeable and wittily charming.  Most guys can relate to his predicament of choosing between your bro and your girlfriend.  He was a type of guy that you want to root for and hope it works out in the end for.  Ted….it’s Peter Griffin.  There is no avoiding it since Seth is voicing the wildly rude bear.  Because Ted is a talking toy, the social restrictions placed on human beings do not apply.  This allows the classical take on the slacker duo comedy to explore common territory with a twist.  It’s not just two guys getting wasted and high, it’s Peter Griffin reincarnated as a Teddy and Marky Mark getting wasted and high.

To be honest, I was concern for Mila Kunis’s character when first viewing the trailer.  Like I said, this is not a new premise for a summer comedy.  Commonly the girlfriend wants her man to evolve, leave behind his stoner friend, and put the ring on her finger.  Normally I would harbor resentment towards the “bitchy” girlfriend, but Lori (Mila) doesn’t turn out like that at all.  Her concerns are well founded and you do sympathize with her plight.  She doesn’t want John to become rich or famous, just apply himself in life and succeed.  It wasn’t like she hated Ted either but rather how John relied on him fully.  Mila was humorous and was the type of girlfriend you wanted your friends to hang with.

There are also a slew of cameos that will catch everyone off guard.  Some from Family Guy and others from unrelated icons.  With great surprise performances from: Patrick Warburton (Joe on Family Guy), Bill Smitrovich, and Matt Walsh to name a few.  I won’t do a disservice and name the big surprises, but prepare to gasp when they appear on-screen.  All roles field quite nicely in the end.

4/5

 

TECHNICAL

Naturally, Ted is computer generated.  The only other route that could have been taken was puppeteering, which would have been a mistake.  Ted’s dynamic interactions would have been more limited otherwise.  The compositing of the CGI and live footage isn’t as great as say The Avengers, but it’s a comedy with a living Teddy Ruxpin.  What the hell do you want?  The presentations of quick snappy dialogue with corresponding cuts is, again, reminiscent of Family Guy.  Even the musical score had familiar strings and brasses from dramatic scenes of old episodes.

3/5

 

Ted: They're hookers, so it's fine.

CONCLUSION

Considering the lack of summer big budget comedies compared to last years (Bridesmaids, Hangover II, Change-Up, Horrible Bosses), Ted couldn’t have came at a better time to break up the monotony of action blockbusters.  The bromance succeeds at what it sets out to do and may have quotable lines that live in infamy much like Hangover’s “Did you just eat sofa pizza?”  Ted is worth the coinage and deserves a theater viewing with the gang.  Now imagine if John Bennett got a Tickle Me Elmo instead of a Teddy Ruxpin.  I want to see Elmo on a bender.  Make it happen Hollywood!

OVERALL RATING:  TOO GUD

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