Notable Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Stewart
Review: Seth MacFarlane’s big screen debut was only a matter of time, but the question at least on this critic’s mind pondered if the boundary pushing funny man could break away from “Family Guy” fame. So in order to do so, it only figures he starts with a smart talking teddy bear that sounds exactly like Peter Griffin. Great. After watching the first trailer all my brain could process was “Peter Griffin has turned into a talking stuffed animal and Ted will be nothing more than an hour and a half long episode of “Family Guy” itself.” And you know what? Ted was freaking hilarious. I’m a huge “Family Guy” fan myself, MacFarlane’s humor is right up my alley, and Ted is a raunch romp into the sick and twisted mind of Seth MacFarlane himself. In the immortal words of Arizona Cardinal’s coach Dennis Green – “Ted was who we thought it was!”
Seriously, Ted is about a regular Boston guy named John Bennett (Wahlberg) who lives with the animated version of his childhood teddy bear. When John was just a little lonely boy, he wished his favorite stuffed teddy bear would come to life. This is where Ted (MacFarlane) comes in. Coming to life after his dream comes true, Ted grows up along with John and stays his best pal to the end. Now a middle-aged slacker, John still lives with his best bud Ted while trying to keep a relationship with girlfriend Lori (Kunis) afloat. Lori is becoming more fed up with Ted’s bad influence and negative habits, blaming Ted for John’s lack of motivation. John has a tough decision to make when Lori makes her boyfriend choose between her and his beloved teddy bear, creating conflicting emotions in the going nowhere bum. Can John put his childhood behind? Or will Ted forever influence the life of an adult.
Hmmm…I wonder what toy I would have brought to life if I could….
So this review doesn’t even have to be that long. If you like “Family Guy,” you’re going to love Ted. The cuddly teddy bear is a Peter Griffin incarnate, except he can get away with saying even dirtier lines because he’s the main character in a feature film. Not a bad deal, right?
Well, there are some flaws. I felt like Seth MacFarlane abused his “no holds barred” medium to incorporate the most inappropriate and offensive jokes possible just for sh*ts and giggles. Too many times I was left speechless and unfazed by an ill-fated joke, wondering how it even made the script. A perfect example would point out the numerous attempts to include a useless 9/11 joke, falling flat every single friggin’ time. It’s one thing to push boundaries and create a unique style of comedy, but at times Ted felt only like an exercise in stupidity and exploitation. But not in a good way. In a childish “Hey Mom, look what I can do!” kind of way.
More surprising yet another one of Marky Mark’s successful comedy outings after scoring gold with Will Ferrell in The Other Guys. Proving his previous cop comedy wasn’t a lucky fluke, Wahlberg was a hilarious companion for his foul-mouthed toy. Kunis worked herself into the cast quite nicely as well, but again the centerpiece of this hilarious escapade is Ted himself. You could have substituted any random couple to play support for MacFarlane and achieved the same result if we’re being honest.
So what won me over so quickly? Ted starts out with Patrick Stewart’s hilarious narration over a playful snow-covered holiday scene, as MacFarlane cleverly sets the tone as a heart warming childhood tale. Paired with Stewart’s voice, the combination seems perfect. Then, out of left field we’re hit with one of Seth’s usual curveball anecdotes and from there we’re off to the races. Just for a split second you question MacFarlane’s motives and delivery, but the crass jokester wastes little time giving everyone what they expect.
It’s true, Ted is nothing but mindless fun. If you require a bit of intelligence to your comedy or need to be challenged by cinema, well you made your way into the wrong theater. But then again, what the hell were you doing there in the first place? Everyone knows what “Family Guy” is and everyone know’s MacFarlane’s reputation, so anyone expecting anything BUT gutter comedy seriously deserves a slap to the back of the head.
Filled to the brim with every type of offense material imaginable, Ted is the definition of a popcorn comedy. But what more can you ask for? People wanted McFarlane to transition onto the silver screen, so he gifted us with a teddy bear suited perfectly for the “Family Guy” universe. God, Mark Wahlberg and a talking teddy bear do coke with Flash Gordon! What the hell else do you need in a comedy? Giovanni Ribisi doing his best pedophile impression and dancing seductively to crappy pop music?! Oh yeah, Ted has that too.
If you’re going to see Ted for an Oscar worthy script and Daniel Day Lewis type acting, then go sit in the corner and wear the cone of shame. Ted is hilarious for all the right reasons, even if MacFarlane still tries to use some of the wrong ones.
Final Rating: 7 Teddy Ruxpins out of 10
Alright, Wahlberg and the bear actually had some hilarious chemistry. Won’t lie.