Ted – Review
Film: Ted (2012)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton, Joel McHale
Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
Produced by: Seth MacFarlane, Scott Stuber, John Jacobs, Jason Clark
Written by: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Music by: Walter Murphy
Running Time: 106 minutes
I used to be a huge fan of the show Family Guy. I particularly enjoyed the pre-hiatus episodes, but after that, I found that the show gradually got worse until I could no longer stand it — especially Seth MacFarlane’s beating-a-dead-horse-is-funny sense of humor.
But when I saw previews for Ted, I was intrigued. Cinema was a route MacFarlane could take and be less restricted in his crudeness. Then of course there was the fact that it was his first foray into the world of live-action film. And as good a dramatic actor and action hero that Mark Wahlberg can be, he is also quite adept at comedy when he tries it (I loved his constantly pissed off character in The Other Guys, even though the movie itself was nothing to write home about). And hey, who can complain about getting to look at Mila Kunis for a whole movie? Better that than only hearing her voice behind Meg’s character in Family Guy. What else? Oh yeah, a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear. Nice.
So I went into Ted knowing exactly what I wanted: an incredibly raunchy, offensive, laugh-out-loud comedy. I didn’t need anything groundbreaking; I just wanted to escape into some good laughter. Thankfully, MacFarlane was able to deliver the goods. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie despite depressingly ending up in the theater’s second row from the front, rendering me with a sore neck by the film’s conclusion.
Anyway, the best parts of Ted were obviously the ones where the bear — voiced by MacFarlane — was on screen. The gimmick of a wise-ass, talking teddy bear remained strongly funny for the film’s duration. Wahlberg was also quite amusing in the way he interacted with Ted, and the quick back-and-forth dialogue they had. Kunis did her job as Johnny‘s (Wahlberg) long-time girlfriend, Lori, whose character was necessary to give the laugh-first film some semblance of a plot.
What I liked about MacFarlane’s writing in Ted was not only its quick, witty dialogue and crude, offensive jokes, but also the fact that he stayed away from a couple of the pitfalls that have made me sour on Family Guy. There were no “let’s repeat the same word/line over and over again and try to be funny through overkill” jokes, and there were also no pointless cutaways (which can be quite funny, but really lose their luster if overused). The only thing I can recall that came close to being the former was a scene (shown in the trailer) where Johnny rattled off an exhaustive list of white trash names when trying to guess the name of Ted’s new girlfriend. But what made this funny was A) hearing the names that they considered to be white-trash, and actually nodding my head at a lot of them, and B) hearing Wahlberg talk that quickly and with such conviction over an absurd topic.
Of course, Ted did have a fairly cliche and predictable bromance vs. romance plot (as Rotten Tomatoes aptly describes), and its third act lost some of the film’s comedic flair in trying to resolve this storyline, but I never lost interest. Giovanni Ribisi made for an entertaining off-kilter antagonist, which helped things along in the movie’s latter stages.
What I did find interesting was that Ted seemed to be moving towards a theme of needing to move on from certain things, but in the end, it doesn’t really stick to that message and no real lesson is gleaned. Now, I wasn’t looking for a great, life-altering storyline and message in this type of movie, but I thought that this was curious; it added a level of inconsistency to the film.
Nevertheless, I had plenty good laughter, and that’s the only thing I was looking for. Remember how I’ve said that expectations, for better or for worse, are critical in shaping our opinions on movies? Here’s another example. With Ted, I didn’t ask for much; I knew what I wanted and I got exactly that.
Tommy D’s Score
3.25/4 Tommy Ds
Posted on July 4, 2012, in Reviews and tagged Family Guy, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel McHale, Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, movies, Patrick Warburton, Seth MacFarlane, Ted, The Other Guys. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.