Comedies are the kind of movies that usually require a certain sense of humor from its target audience. They are a little hard for me to review since everyone has their own individual sense of humor that can define what they see in comedy movie funny. Well, I have a twisted sense of humor and yes, I like raunchy comedies on occasion. Seth MacFarlane had made his name with the TV series “Family Guy” because of its raunchy, twisted, edgy sense of comedy, so you should know exactly what you are in for the R-Rated, MacFarlane directed comedy “Ted”.
“Ted” is basically your standard “stoner movie” and a "bromance" that brings a brand new twist to that genre. It is about a living, breathing pot-smoking, fouled-mouthed teddy bear and his relationship with his best friend. I know, some parents probably thought that this was a movie fit for kids because of the magic teddy bear thing, so if you took your kid to see “Ted” and got offended then it would be your own brand of stupid move (I saw several kids in the theater whose parents looked stunned). Didn’t you see the humping teddy bear and the scantily-clad hooker ladies in the trailer?
The film begins in the mid 80’s when John (Mitch Higgins) as a kid decides to make a wish for his stuffed teddy bear that he calls “Teddy”. It was the right evening to make a wish as he unknowingly chances on a falling star and “Ted” comes to life. The two become inseparable and “Ted” (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) even becomes a minor celebrity--the two grow up together and the two form a bond that no one should break. All this happen within 8 minutes into the film and the direction wisely uses a form of montage in the form of old photos and new reels. This was a wise move as the film manages to establish its footing into the first few minutes and the viewer gets to know the characters even after John (now played by Mark Wahlberg) had formed a relationship with a beautiful young woman named Lori (Mila Kunis).
Then the movie fast forwards to the present time, and you see John and Ted still best friends doing their own thing chilling and getting high. It was smart of the film to go through the numbers and even add some random flashbacks to add some laughs and allow the characters to charm its way to its audience. The direction succeeds, it was easy to buy into the whole “Ted and John best buds” kind’a thing and I found it easy to laugh at the irresponsible behavior being displayed by the two characters. There is a subtle message about ‘growing up’, that old "comfort zone" and how sometimes ‘attachments’ can hold friends back. There is also an allegory about how friends should sometimes know when to give the other ‘space’ and breathing room especially if one needs to focus on other more important things. This is all very subtle though, and what really drives the film’s energy is the way the direction times each scene and how it approaches each misadventure into something we can relate to.
“Ted” is all about the usual ‘stoner’ humor and some slapstick, profanity, (subtle) adult lewd behavior. It helps when the natural the chemistry between Ted and John can command this film‘s pace. The two bicker, they banter and bond like nobody’s business, I easily could buy into the fact that they have known each other for many years. Wahlberg did an incredible job with his role and MacFarlane’s voice-acting complemented the scenes marvelously. It also helps when the CGI work and puppetry were incredibly done that the "Ted" scenes do come alive. Mila Kunis was the right actress for the role; she is the woman who can make a difference into a man’s perspective. It is a demonstration as to how the feminine persona can shed some light into one’s “growing into maturity“. Patrick Stewart does a good job with the narration, but as he says, ‘who would give a fuck”?
The script does not hold back on the goofiness of a talking and living teddy bear. There is even some ‘teddy bear’ sex and some very suggestive themes. The film is also rich with cameos (which I don’t want to spoil), so let’s say that there is a gift from the planet Mongo who is the ‘savior of the universe’ as well as a comedic twist on the childhood of one of today’s annoying matinee idols. Ted also had an affair with one the music industry's most talented faces? Ted and John in many ways were living in the childhood during the 80’s and so prepare for a feeling of goofy but subtle silliness when it comes to that era. It all feels natural and the film never lost a footing in the delivery of the comedic scenes (the grocery exchanges were hilarious). The one thing that sucked its energy was when the film had taken a sort of a detour from the Ted, Lori and John dynamics and brings a father-son stalker thing in the persons of Giovanni Ribisi and some kid. I thought this was a slight detour that messed up the film’s momentum (but not by much). The stuff pulled by the Lori’s lecherous boss (Joel MacHale) and the Tammy-Lynn character (Jessica Barth) could've added some more raunchy twists to the film (and I bet the unrated cut has more of their story to tell).
I wouldn't have thought that such a premise would prove to be so effective in delivering the right laughs and even gave that ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling we get inside when we watch something a little emotional. “Ted” is the kind of movie that almost everyone can relate to, and we can realize that sometimes, we all need that ‘best friend’ who has our back no matter what, be it a stuffed toy, car or a blanket. Seth MacFarlane’s direction made the film easy to enjoy and really easy to laugh with. It has the right balance of clever wit, banter, raunchy and twisted humor that I enjoyed, it also helps that it has a heart (and a scene of nudity). If you are part of the “teddy bear fantasy movies are for kids” crowd then you would be better off watching something else.
Hey, I didn’t even need beer and a lot of pizza to laugh from it. I hope to see a raunchier, dirtier, extended, unrated cut of this movie. This is some "Beary, Beary" funny shit!
Star Rating: Going into Ted, I fully expected a raunchy comedy. What I wasn’t at all expecting was a very sweet, very compelling coming of age story, one that convincingly examines themes of friendship, loyalty, and love. In the best possible sense, this movie completely threw me for a loop. It marks the directorial debut of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who clearly has a sick sense of humor but also has a lot of heart and isn’t afraid to show … more
By Joan Alperin Schwartz I love talking animals and I have to admit, I own quite a few. Granted they're stuffed with a vocabulary of not more than 10 words...which definitely doesn't even come close to the vocabulary of 'Teddy', the foul mouth, boozing, pot smoking, oversexed bear. Teddy, is one of the stars of Seth McFarland's new film...'Ted'. McFarland, for those of you who aren't into animated tv … more
TED Written by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild Directed by Seth MacFarlane Starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Seth MacFarlane Ted: (Dressed in a suit) I look stupid. John: No, you don’t. You look dapper. Ted: John, I look like something you give to your kid when you tell ‘em Grandma died. The opening sequence to TED, Seth MacFarlane’s (FAMILY GUY) first live-action feature film, tells you everything you need to know about whether you’re … more