Ted (2012) Directed by Seth MacFarlane. Starring: Mark Whalbeg, Seth MacFarlane, and Mila Kunis. IMDB says: “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. “
I had high hopes for Ted and the film really delivered. I am a fan of Seth MacFarlane’s television projects (except for The Cleveland Show—that one never really landed with me), so I had an idea of what to anticipate and raised my expectations to meet that level. I appreciate both the absurd humor you get from Family Guy and the situational, plot-driven humor of American Dad!. The movie is filled with both of these types of jokes and blends together the styles of both of MacFarlane’s shows very well. He wrote this film alongside Family Guy writer/producers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild.
Structurally, the movie is more like American Dad! with jokes that branch from the plot and are based off the surroundings of the characters. Ted also has a lot of old television references, which reminds me more of Family Guy. The film places these references in the movie as a way to give the feel of what type of kid Mark Wahlberg’s character was and to help explain the type of adult he becomes. These references do add a healthy bit of nostalgia for anyone old enough to remember them. I know this because there was a group behind me in the theater who let everyone know they remembered the toys shown in the opening scenes of the movie. Despite this, these references added a lot to the film and made it seem in line with MacFarlane’s signature style.
The story was full and well written. There was a lot of depth added to the plot and to the characters. There was more conflict than I was expecting as well, which ended in a nice Hollywood-style finish. I think that was the aim of the movie, though. The movie is set up to mirror family films but with the twist of adding a pot addicted teddy bear. Mark Wahlberg is perfect for comedies and he shows some more range in this film than usual. Mila Kunis also did a great job. There were times that she employed more acting prowess than was needed, but it helped make the movie feel like a more serious venture.
While my hopes were high, I wasn’t expecting more than a 90 minute episode of Family Guy. However, Ted really delivered with the plot and the character development of a full-length feature film. The script is filled with jokes. Not a minute of the first two acts goes by without successful attempts to make the audience laugh. The third act takes a more serious turn, but it never lets up on the humor and never feels like it’s trying to be a different movie for the sake of sucking in feelings. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes a good hard-R comedy, with a special recommendation to anyone who was young in the late 70′s to mid 80′s.