Family Guy. When it was great, it was great. When it was bad, oh boy, was it bad. It was with this in mind that I went to see Ted, written and directed by the creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane.
Ted is an adult comedy that tells the tale of John Bennet (played by Bretton Manley as a child), a young boy who has trouble making friends. One day he gets a teddy bear for Christmas, and he wishes that he were real so that he could have a real friend. He wakes up the next day to find out that his wish has come true! John’s family sees this as a Christmas miracle, and it’s not long before Ted the walking, talking, eating, breathing, teddy bear is a nationwide sensation. Despite all the attention from the outside world, he never forgets John’s wish, and Ted and John grow up as best friends.
We meet John (now played by Mark Wahlberg) again in his mid 30’s. He’s an average guy working in an average job, and has Ted and cute girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) to keep him company. Ted’s grown up as well, although not in quite the way you’d expect from a cute and adorable stuffed toy. As expected, Lori isn’t exactly enthralled about Ted living with her and John, and John soon finds himself torn between his best friend, and the love of his life.
As I expected, the humour in Ted is hit or miss. Ted relies mostly on pop culture references (like Family Guy) for it’s humour, but also plays a lot with the idea of a cute living teddy bear by giving him all the characteristics of a horny stoner in his later years. When you laugh, which is more often than not, you’ll find tears streaming down your face. Sometimes though, you’ll sit there scratching your head, knowing that was a joke, wondering why it was meant to be funny, or just thinking that Seth MacFarlane was trying a bit too hard. Overall Ted is very funny, even if it’s a bit inconsistent at the start.
I guess it’s good for Mark Wahlberg to being be getting a decent mix of roles, although I really don’t like the way he acts. His “style” is great for characters that are more about punching things than conveying emotions, but he’s fine in Ted. Not good, not bad, but fine. How does Mila Kunis (the voice of Meg from Family Guy) fare? She’s shown numerous times that she can deliver the goods in feature movies (and the fact that she’s real easy on the eyes doesn’t hurt either). Ted, voiced by Seth MacFarlane, is pretty well animated, so his “performance” is pretty good. There are a couple of shots in which Ted just looks cheap and ugly, but for the most part the CG work done is spot on.
What really surprised me was how Ted manages to shift gears in the final act and deliver a surprisingly heartfelt, if predictable, ending. Certain events occur during the first and second acts that result in the third act being more of a drama than a comedy, and it’s this focus on a more serious ending where I really began to feel for the characters. Up until this point, you’d empathised and laughed with them, but it’s not really until the end that you cry with them, and this is really what brings Ted together.
Movie Rating: A highly entertaining ADULT (yes, this is meant for you irresponsible parents who think it’s a kid’s movie just because it has a teddy bear) comedy that shows a surprising amount of heart towards the end of the film. If you like the style of comedy in Family Guy, you’ll love this movie. Otherwise, the first half of it may just bore you to tears.