Director: Seth McFarlane
Starring: Seth McFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis
Written by Rhys Wortham
Edited by Jakob Lewis Barnes
After more than a decade of hiding behind some of the most popular cartoon characters in the Western World, giving us laughs aplenty 20 minutes at a time, Seth MacFarlane delighted fans with the release of a feature length film, with an exciting new character. The tickets practically sold themselves! Anyone who was a fan of ‘Family Guy’ or ‘American Dad’ (who was old enough), was always going to see this movie. But with such an adoring fanbase, naturally, there was a certain weight of expectation placed on ‘Ted’. Admittedly, it’s one of those films where you either get it, or you don’t – a risky and divisive approach to comedy and filmmaking, but that’s all Seth MacFarlane knows.
Little John Bennett is a bit of an outcast as a child, so when his parents give him a stuffed teddy bear for Christmas one year, John becomes very attached to his furry friend. So much so, that he wishes for the bear to come to life and be his real friend. And whatdya know, his wish comes true! Once the media storm dies down and Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) is no longer a big celebrity, he and John (Mark Wahlberg) can enjoy a normal, adult life. Kind of. But with John’s long term partner, Lori (Mila Kunis), growing tired of playing second fiddle to Ted, she forces John to move Ted out into the real world.
This is not one of the funniest movies of all time, but it had some of the best dialogue and transitional plot pieces that I’ve seen in a long while. On top of all that, just about everything added into the movie helps develop the characters. From the dorky movies they watch (‘Flash Gordon’ being the highlight), to the weird cultural references; it’s fantastic to see the cutaway element of ‘Family Guy’ transferred so brilliantly into a live-action film. To a certain extent, the characters feel real and genuine. It’s almost like you know them, thanks to the actors’ ease of emotional transition and vocal patterns.
As you can guess, anything which Seth MacFarlane plays a part in is sure to have lots of laughs, and ‘Ted’ is no different. Although, some of the jokes not only didn’t make sense, but they were just really odd as well. It isn’t that they weren’t funny, but they were, at times, exceedingly awkward. Also, the increase of smut humour was a little higher than in previous works of Seth MacFarlane, or anyone for that matter. As always however, MacFarlane handles this controversial content well; something which takes some serious tact to pull off.
Everyone does a decent job in the acting department. It’s actually good to see Wahlberg NOT going around punching people in the face and firing a gun. Giovanni Ribisi, as usual, is astoundingly great, considering how creepy his role was. I will say it’s refreshing to see Mila Kunis in a bit of a different role too, where she isn’t being a complete bitch (see ‘That 70s Show’, ‘After Sex’). She did a great job as the more ‘mature’ one of the group whilst Wahlberg developed nicely from party-teen-man to an actual responsible adult.
All in all, this is probably one of the best “bromance” comedies I’ve seen in a while. However, the humor isn’t for everyone. On top of that, a lot of it is really odd – even for my taste – with crazy cultural references, word play, and quick wit. This sounds standard, for anyone who knows comedy formulae, but it’s how these elements are structured and how they’re written. So, I can’t expect everyone to love it, but then again that’s the charm of the whole movie. If you’re in, you’re already halfway towards enjoying it, but if Seth MacFarlane’s tongue-in-cheek humour has never got you laughing, don’t expect it to happen now. And in case you really enjoyed ‘Ted’, there’s a sequel out there too!