When I first heard news that Seth MacFarlane was jumping from the world of animated television to the big screen I was very excited. MacFarlane’s brand of humor is an acquired taste considering you need to have a vast knowledge of pop culture and not easily offended by crude and blunt humor to enjoy his work. Vast knowledge of pop culture and boundary pushing humor, you know I’m in. So when I saw the first trailer for Ted earlier this year I couldn’t believe my eyes. MacFarlane’s first chance at directing a major studio film and he makes it about a teddy bear that comes to life. You have to be kidding me right? But if anyone can kid the audience into buying into the story of boy and his stuffed bear who came to life is Seth MacFarlane and his R rated comedy Ted.
Ted tells the story of lonely boy named John (Mark Wahlberg) who wished for his teddy bear to come to life so he could have friends like the other kids in his Boston neighborhood. Told over a great narrative by Patrick Stewart a special Christmas wish makes Ted real and he becomes an overnight celebrity with talk show appearances, magazine covers, and the inevitable downfall. Ted and John stay buddies, or should I say thunder buddies through the years until the relationship hits a fork in the road. Should John stick with his magical stuffed bear or move forward with his girlfriend Lori played by Mila Kunis. Kunis prevents Lori from being the one-dimensional pain in the neck girlfriend who just wants her man to change. Lori loves Ted but knows it’s time for the duo to grow up.
The real chemistry and funniest scenes are between the two leads John and Ted. I’m not saying Wahlberg deserves and another Oscar nomination but he does a great job making you believe he is really sitting next to his plush bear as they ramble on about the names of the herbal refreshments they are about to partake in. Remember people, there is no bear sitting next to Wahlberg engaging him in dialogue or facial expressions when they are shooting these scenes. Walhberg buys into the CG process and gives a funny and honest performance that outside of The Departed is my favorite to date.
As you can all imagine the real star of Ted is the bear himself. The MacFarlane voiced bear has some of the funniest lines in the movie that I cannot repeat in this review. Ted’s rants are crude but sharply written and the fact the lines are spewing from stuffed bear’s mouth is even better. I mean who didn’t try to put a tape of NWA’s “Straight Outta of Compton” in their Teddy Ruxpin when they were growing up. Show of hands. Ted is a bad influence which makes for great laughs but he does love John and that is where Ted finds its heart.
The laughs start at the beginning of the film and don’t stop until the credits roll. The film is a raunchy but sweet story about what many of us men go through becoming an adult and leaving our irresponsible youth and running buddies behind. Ted symbolizes that old version of yourself in college that you thought was awesome but may not be the best guest to bring to a dinner party in your thirties.
Ted teaches the lesson that you shouldn’t have to change who you are but you may want to change how you do things in your life. Ted is the funniest movie I have seen this year and if you ever dreamed for your stuffed animals to come to life then I would totally recommend this flick. Unless you’re a weirdo and your wish is for one of those “Good Guy” dolls from the movie Child’s Play to come to life. That’s not cool. Overall I give Ted three dirty sweet potatoes. Thunder Buddies for Life.