MOVIE REVIEW: Ted

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Nothing is more powerful than a young boy’s wish, and when John Bennett makes a wish for his teddy bear to come to life, he gets more than anyone expected. Major Spoilers takes a look at Ted, Seth MacFarlane’s first major motion picture.

Ted
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Writers: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild.
Starring
John Bennett: Mark Wahlberg
Lori Collins: Mila Kunis
Ted: Seth MacFarlane
REx: Joel McHale
Donny: Giovani Ribisi
Narrator: Patrick Stewart

Previously in Seth MacFarlane’s world:   Crude Peter Griffin has a talking pet dog. Now Marky Mark has a crude living teddy bear, who sounds suspiciously like Peter Griffin.

Young and unpopular John Bennet makes a wish on Christmas night that his new toy teddy bear come to life. It does. And 28 years later they are still best friends, Thunder Buddies For Life. John has been seeing Lori Collins for four years, but their relationship is about to hit a rocky patch…

There are two things you need to know about this movie. First: It is funny. Laugh out loud funny. Second: It is not as much like Family Guy as one might expect.

As I said, this is a funny movie, but there are a few different types of funny in here. There is a LOT of vulgar humour, with a metric tonne of cursing. But while it is vulgar as heck, it is incredibly funny as a result. There are also quite a lot of smart and subtle gags, with clever word play. Then there are the obvious visual gags, centred around Ted himself.

Ted looks great. He really looks like a teddy bear with life breathed in to it. The way he moves, and interacts with everything is very impressive. He is also quite haggard looking, with bald patches and the like. It is this attention to detail that keeps the ridiculous premise alive, and keeps me referring to Ted as “he” not “it”.

IT’S A BROMANTIC COMEDY

The rest of the cast keep the funny coming too. Whalberg is very impressive, especially given his performance is primarily against nothing. He oozes likability and charm, and is more than just the straight man in the John/Ted double team. And then there’s Kunis, who is gorgeous and utterly adorable, and made almost entirely out of Bambi eyes. Admittedly, their relationship strife is trope filled, but theirs is not the main relationship in the movie. It’s a comedy, not a romantic comedy.

There is also a lot of fun geeky stuff going on here. Aside from the customary “Oh, It’s That Guy From That Thing” cameos, the jokes and references are enough to warm any geeks heart. The Christmas morning present montage at the beginning brings me back to birthdays and Christmases of my youth. And if you don’t come away from this movie wanting to watch Flash Gordon again, then there is something awry with you.

TED IS A SETH MACHINE

Seth MacFarlane is, without a doubt, the star of this movie though: Starring, writing, producing and directing, and doing an admirable job at each. There is something of an 80’s feel to the movie, between the look, the soundtrack and some of the references, and it works very well. He also displays some impressive visual flourishes, and he manages the few little action scenes very well too (although that shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Family Guy’s Peter Vs Giant Chicken fights are very well staged). The only set back could be that Ted sounds too much like Peter Griffin. That said, Kunis sounds remarkably like Meg Griffin too, but before long you stop noticing and just go with it.

The movie clearly shares some similarities with Family Guy, but MacFarlane has such a unique voice and humour that it is to be expected. While there are a few echoes of Family Guy, there is enough originality to make up for it. A new joke follows hot on the heels of a familiar one, so you don’t really mind.

So…This is a funny movie. The stars do very well, as do the supporting cast and cameos. The climax is a little daft, and the boy/girl aspect of the movie has been done before, but there are so many genuinely laugh out loud moments that it trumps the recycled relationship stuff. And that is what you want from a comedy, to laugh, and in that regard this is a success. Warning though: if you’re put off by foul language and adult humour, then this may not be for you.

Rating: ★★★½☆