Posted by: GregMo Roberts Source:Killer Reviews
Writer/director Seth McFarlane jumps from animated television (Family Guy, American Dad!) to big screen comedy with Ted, a new film about a childhood wish to bring a Teddy Bear to life. The film stars Mark Wahlberg as John Bennett, a 30+-year-old who made a childhood wish for a special friend and had his dream come true when his teddy bear named Ted (voiced by Seth McFarlane) comes to life. John and Ted grew up together and their friendship consisted of parties, drinking, drugs and watching as much 1980’s television and movies as possible.
It might sound like the perfect friendship, but John has been romantically linked to Lori (Mila Kunis) for four years and the focus of attention that John gives Ted over Lori puts a strain on the human to human relationship. This will eventually put John in a position of separating his reliance on Ted, and with comic mastermind McFarlane behind the screenplay, you can bet that high and low brow comedy will undoubtedly ensue.
Ted is rated R and is filled with enough profanities and sex related jokes to fill a two-hour Family Guy special. Ted grows up to be a foul-mouthed, sexed-up teddywhore and he is the perfect complement to the nice-guy (but still foul-mouthed), simple living John who is stuck in a dead end job and sees his life as being in some form of a rut.
John’s biggest problem is not being able to say ‘no’ to the happy/no responsibilities Ted. And it is reluctance to give 100% to Lori that allows for the conflict in the simple screenplay that really feels like a live-action Family Guy episode with each scene purposefully setting up the next punchline.
That doesn’t make Ted a bad film. Just the opposite in fact. Family Guy is a smart, pop culture referencing comedy that is bound to the Fox censors. With Ted, McFarlane can let his hair down and let ‘er rip and you can all but imagine him dying of laughter behind the camera with each scene containing a Ted and John interaction.
Most of the best jokes in the film can be seen in the previously released red band trailer for the film, but there are a few nice additions including one referencing human poop left on an apartment floor and another where Ted crosses a line thanks to some hand cream.
There are a few subplots in the movie that were less appreciated. Giovanni Ribisi plays a manic father who looks to kidnap Ted for his own child. And John McHale (Community) is really wasted as Lori’s boss who is forever trying to pry her from John’s clutches.
Seth seems to revel in referencing anything 1980’s including once pop sensation Tiffany, Indiana Jones, Knight Rider and Cheers to name a few. Our favorite were all the jokes referencing the 1980 film Flash Gordon. Ted and John claim the film shaped their lives and when actor Sam J. Jones who played Flash Gordon in the cult classic appears at a party playing himself, things spiral towards the very very hilarious end of the funny bone extension.
Sam J. Jones might have the largest of all the cameos in the film, but he is not alone. Ryan Reynolds shows up briefly and Patrick Stewart hilariously narrates the film. Patrick Wharburton and Alex Borstein appear making Ted more of a Family Guy reunion of sorts and Nora Jones and Tom Skerritt both play themselves in stories that seem placed only for one or two stored jokes that McFarlane likely had saved on various bar napkins in his night table drawer.
Still, the audience at our San Francisco screening seemed to revel in the comedic moments and on few occasions you could see the AMC Theatre chairs rocking back and forth as an audience member would convulse in uproarious laughter.
Ted should appeal to a large audience. There are the crude humor fans, the Family Guy fans, the Mark Wahlberg fans and the Seth McFarlane fans. But we can attest that you don’t have to be any of the above to enjoy Ted. It was a funny, but overlong (1 hour 47 minutes) comedy that had some issues with filmatic flow, but had no problems in bringing the funny. It might not go down as a classic, but you’d be hard pressed to find a film this summer that will make you laugh and smile as often.