Monday, July 23, 2012


Let me start off by saying that, initially, I wasn’t planning on seeing Ted. The idea of a vulgar teddy bear chumming it up with Mark Wahlberg didn’t really appeal to me. Then, after being released for a week, I began to hear great reviews via word of mouth. “It’s the funniest movie ever,” a few of my friends said, which inspired me to give it a chance. I wouldn’t say it was the funniest movie ever, but it was friggin’ hilarious.

For those who don’t know, IMDb describes the premise: “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.”

It sounds a bit corny, but thanks to the comedic genius of Seth MacFarlane, the movie really comes to life.  For me, it was like watching a real-life episode of Family Guy, but with different characters. There were hilarious flashback scenes, daydreams, raunchiness, uncomfortable scenarios, and everything in between. Simply put, if you’re a fan of Family Guy, you’ll definitely be a fan of Ted.

If you’re not familiar with Family Guy, fear not, Ted still has plenty to offer. The first thing you’ll need to know though, is that this is an R-rated comedy. While there is a teddy bear involved, this movie isn’t for kids. As I mentioned before, there was a lot of raunchiness, which turns out can be quite funny coming from a stuffed teddy bear.

Not only did MacFarlane write and direct the film, he voiced Ted and even donned a motion-capture suit to portray him. By doing so, he injected some life and enthusiasm, turning a computer-generated character into something more. Without a doubt, Ted is the star of this film.

With that said, he receives some complimentary performances throughout. For instance, Wahlberg does a great job breaking from action flicks and tackling a comedy role. I tend to be hit or miss when it comes Wahlberg’s performances, but in Ted he hits it out of the park as John Bennett (coincidentally that’s the same name as my ex-girlfriend’s fiancé). It’s hard to imagine Wahlberg as a grown, irresponsible, and innocent man-child, but he pulls it off with flying colors.

Likewise, Mila Kunis does a great job as Bennett’s girlfriend, Lori Collins, who believes Ted branching out on his own is best for everyone. Obviously this causes some friction, and ultimately sets up some pretty funny situations. It couldn’t have been easy to convince two Hollywood stars of Kunis and Wahlberg’s caliber to star in a film about a talking teddy bear, but kudos to them both for taking the risk.

Kudos are also in order for Giovanni Ribisi and Joel McHale for delivering on their supporting roles, as well as Patrick Stewart’s narrating duties and cameo appearances by Tom Skerritt, Norah Jones, Alex Borstein and Sam J. Jones as Flash Gordon. It never ceases to amaze me how MacFarlane can take a stagnant career, like those of Skerritt and Jones, and seemingly revive them simply by featuring them as an extreme caricature of themselves.

Ted was a great first outing for MacFarlane, and I look forward to his future endeavors in the feature film realm. Surprisingly, his animation-comedy techniques translate well to the big screen, and Ted had me laughing non-stop; in fact, I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. If you enjoy a good R-rated comedy, then Ted is a must.

Buddies Forever Movie Club Rating: 75%

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