Ted

Movie Rating: This entry has a rating of 3.5

Ted, 2012, USA

I need to give Seth MacFarlane some credit. I’m not a fan of much of his work because I find the humour is too “easy” and juvenile, but Ted was pretty freaking hilarious. I might even have a little more faith in his ability to host the Oscars.

John (Bretton Manley as a child, Mark Wahlberg as an adult) is a lonely little boy who receives a toy bear for Christmas. He wishes the bear was real and wakes up to a living, breathing Ted (MacFarlane). They grow up together and at 35, John lives with Ted and his girlfriend of four years, Lori (Mila Kunis). John and Ted smoke pot, and John’s life has stalled. Lori is impatient for him to grow up and encourages him to make Ted move out on his own. Will John be able to grow up and beyond his best friend, or will he lose Lori forever?

I really appreciated the high-concept twist on an idea that has been played out on film numerous times. “Manchild” characters who place their bromance above their significant other are commonplace in pop culture today, and this was a refreshing twist on the idea, and for this reason, the film works. The humour is quite dirty, and while it occasionally pushed my own tolerance for gross-out humour, it still had me laughing.

I did find that the film weakened a bit in the last act. It felt like MacFarlane didn’t know how to end the film, so it takes a rather awkward, disturbing and dark turn. This was all foreshadowed, but I think MacFarlane should have gone in a different direction entirely, in my opinion. It all seemed like a bit of a ruse in order to get to the ending he wanted.

Wahlberg was great as John, and Kunis was absolutely hilarious. MacFarlane is very adept at voice work, as we’ve all seen from Family Guy and American Dad!, but MacFarlane uses the same voice for Ted as he uses for Peter Griffin. It’s slightly distracting, but this is alluded to in the film for a laugh.

An interesting bit of trivia is that both Wahlberg and MacFarlane were scheduled to be on Flight 11 – one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center on 9/11. I thought of this during the film – especially when a 9/11 joke was made. I had to wonder how comfortable MacFarlane is writing 9/11 jokes when he so narrowly avoided losing his life that day. However, humour can also be a coping mechanism, so writing such a joke could be cathartic for him. I wasn’t offended by the joke, but I imagine some people might have been – not that the possibility of offending people would ever keep MacFarlane from using a joke in one of his TV shows or in a film.

The film is full of celebrity cameos, and it was a lot of fun catching them throughout the film. I’m not going to reveal who they are, because it would spoil the surprise!

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Ted. It was funny and surprisingly heartfelt.

  1. Rob
    December 31st, 2012 at 15:08 | #1

    I really enjoyed Ted, too, though for me I wouldn’t put it over the best Family Guy episodes I’ve seen. Ted seemed no less different at juvenile humor than what FG often gets away with, though w/ FG it’s a stew of any knd of humor; they throw everything into their episodes to get the audience laughing. (I haven’t watched much lately though, so dunno how the show’s holding up. I still laugh just thinking of some bits:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Vg1IbVXF8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHM57HcHJ_c )

    The party w/ Flash Gordon, Ted fighting a chicken had me stitches, that’s worth the ticket price alone imo. And I agree, the last 20 minutes or so fell apart into action movie, they should’ve stuck with the movie’s theme of growing out of arrested development.

    Seth Macfarland hosting the Oscars might get even me to watch that show, that’s the brightest thing the Academy’s done in years. It tops Billy Crystal for the umpteenth time. It’s something new, and with up to 10 movies as best picture (which I think was a brilliant move, too, since all critics’ best movies lists are 10) I’m guessing next year’s Oscars will have the best viewers in years.

  2. Jennifer
    January 2nd, 2013 at 20:01 | #2

    @Rob

    I have more faith in MacFarlane now than I did before seeing Ted. I’m actually not a big fan of Family Guy. The early seasons were amusing but the schtick got old for me quick and I feel like the show too often goes for the “easy” joke. I also must admit that I really like when Billy Crystal hosts the Oscars. Personally I was hoping they’d pick Tina Fey to host, but she’s doing the Golden Globes with Amy Poehler and I’m super excited to see what they will do there.

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