You know you are watching a Seth McFarlane film when you see a foul-mouthed, talking Teddy Bear (Ted) trying to party his way through life, while taking every opportunity to make hilariously obscene sexual gestures at the blonde who caught his fancy.
Ted is a funny film, and in ways more than one. While it starts and ends like a clichéd romantic comedy, its center is stuffed with a script that is witty, smart and amusingly raunchy. That Ted is armed with crude jokes shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of McFarlane, a man who has entertained viewers for over a decade with his edgy animated TV sitcom “Family Guy,” and now makes his directorial debut. For such fans, Ted carries the trademark McFarlane humour, some familiar cast members and a script with amusing moments of self-awareness. Although for “Family Guy” fans, the most noteworthy aspect of the film may be the mannerisms and personality of Ted that are so similar to Peter Griffin — a fact that Ted itself pokes fun at.
The film begins with a lonely kid, John Bennett, who wishes upon a falling star for his teddy bear to become his best friend forever. Next thing he knows, his plush toy comes to life to the shock of not only his parents, but the entire world. The story then fast forwards to John in his 30s (Mark Wahlberg), who is now in a relationship with his girlfriend of four years Lori Collins (Mila Kunis), and is still living with Ted (Seth MacFarlane), whose carefree ways have a negative impact on John. Here we learn that the world has adjusted to Ted, and the only one still not accepting it is Lori, although for different reasons.
Ted’s story focuses on John consistently letting Lori down with his immature actions and fear of commitment, while there is also some thoughtful social commentary on the irresponsibility of people using friends as a crutch for their own freewheeling behaviour. Although many of the performances in Ted are quite good, including the voice acting from McFarlane, the film suffers somewhat from his inexperience at directing live action. Some scenes, especially ones involving extras, suffer from wooden performances and an autopilot feel. But by and large, the largest issue with Ted is its strange finale that disappointingly takes an action film route, as many such comedies do.
That being said, Ted is an endearing film, with plenty of sweet ‘bromance’ moments to complement the laugh-out-loud humour. However, potential viewers should bear one thing in mind: this stuffed toy animal is definitely not meant for kids.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, September 2nd, 2012.