As the result of a childhood wish, John Bennett’s teddy bear, Ted, came to life and has been by John’s side ever since - a friendship that’s tested when Lori, John’s girlfriend of four years, wants more from their relationship.
Year 1, Day 362
BEFORE: Going more modern now, last year’s Ted will wrap up this last comedy chain. Seth MacFarlane’s feature debut was quite a success including being the number one R-rated film and twelfth overall for the year. I’ve been wanting to see this film to see how the Family Guy humor translates into film and also because Ted was filmed right here in Boston.
AFTER: I wouldn’t call myself a Family Guy fan; not because I don’t like the show, just because I hardly watch it. But I’m going to stop the comparisons to MacFarlane’s show right now because the most important part about Ted, and the reason why I think this film is so appealing, is because it doesn’t take itself seriously. The premise is ridiculous enough - a kid’s teddy bear comes to life and they remain best friends through adulthood - for a children’s movie, let alone an R-rated comedy. But Ted is aware of its absurdity, acknowledges it, and for that reason, it succeeds.
While I’m not a big fan of the narration (sorry Patrick Stewart), the opening of the film still did a good job introducing the characters and making me want to watch the film. Right off the bat it alleviated some major concerns, mainly, how does no one question a walking, talking teddy bear. The answer: after a very predictable response by John Bennett’s (Mark Wahlberg, young Bennett played by Brett Manley) parents - they go along with believing the bear is “alive”, then freak out when they see him moving - Ted (Seth MacFarlane) makes national news and becomes an overnight celebrity. Perhaps equally as ridiculous as having a living teddy bear in the first place, but the film’s honesty and acknowledgment of what’s going on makes it more than just bearable (haha, get it, bearable), it makes it entertaining and downright amusing. A few other moments in the film reference some of the stranger parts that are hard to go along with. A notable example is Ted mentioning how his voice sounds similar to Peter Griffin’s (also voiced by MacFarlane).
Speaking of which, Ted certainly has MacFarlane’s brand of humor littered throughout. Instead of more traditional humor which relies on witty phrases, situational, or observational humor, MacFarlane’s humor is very attack-heavy. Many groups and individuals are targeted including, but not limited to, Jews, Muslims, Indians, Blacks, Asians; even the mentally retarded aren’t left alone. Most people couldn’t pull jokes like these off but MacFarlane’s bluntness is what make it funny. And unlike some other films or even Family Guy another other MacFarlane productions, Ted doesn’t go overboard. Jokes know how long to go until the punchline is delivered and then move on. Scenes keep on building and going for more jokes, but the same joke isn’t stretched out for five minutes and endlessly repeated; it’s a welcome sight and another plus for the movie.
There’s a few minor flaws - that narration, the incorporation of Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) and Robert (parts were amusing, others weren’t) - but overall, the foul-mouthed teddy bear and his thunder-buddy provide some quality entertainment. As far as the year of 2012 goes, I’d say Ted definitely ranks among the top comedies. It’s not quite as good as Seven Psychopaths, a personal favorite, but Ted is certainly a better choice for a more casual movie-watching experience.
RATING: 4 out of 5