Movie Review: Ted [2012]

Ted [2012]

Ted [2012]
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Genre: Comedy/Fantasy
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale and Giovanni Ribisi
Runtime: 106 minutes

In theory, Ted shouldn’t work. Not only is this the first feature-length film from director Seth MacFarlane, who is responsible for the long-past-its-prime Family Guy (among other animated TV shows), but this is also a movie about a freakin’ talking teddy bear. The odds were against Ted being a quality film, yet somehow it manages to surprise and stand out as one of this year’s better comedies.

The movie revolves around the friendship between John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his talking teddy bear, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane). As a child in 1985, John didn’t have a lot of friends so he made a wish that his teddy bear would be able to talk to him. As luck would have it, his wish coincided with a shooting star, and his request was fulfilled. Ted sprang to life the next morning, startling the hell out John’s parents, but he quickly became accepted as a new member of the family.

Flash forward 27 years. John and Ted still live together, but now John is in a serious relationship with a hard-working office professional, Lori (Mila Kunis). While she is determined to rise through the corporate ranks, John seems content to work at a car rental business while getting high in his spare time with his buddy Ted. Lori has had enough of this childish behavior and presents John with an ultimatum: it’s her or Ted. What transpires is a juggling act from John, as he tries to keep the two most important people (er, things) in his life.

Ted with hookers

The plot is paper thin, but that’s all irrelevant thanks to the charismatic teddy bear. Ted has a foul mouth with a thick Boston accent, and he has a penchant for drugs, booze and hookers. His banter with John is oftentimes hilarious and raunchy, and their shared devotion of the campy 1980 Flash Gordon film lends itself to some of the film’s brightest moments. Naturally, as this is a Seth MacFarlane creation, there are dozens of one-liners that reference obscure 80s pop culture targets, and many of them will go over the heads of younger viewers. There’s also at least one Diff’rent Strokes joke, which seems to be a mandatory inclusion in everything MacFarlane does.

In order to stretch out the running time, an additional subplot is presented in which Ted is targeted by a creepy stalker played by Giovanni Ribisi (as crazy as ever). This adds more dramatic elements to the film, but its inclusion ultimately feels tacked-on and unnecessary.

Ted [2012]

In essence, this movie is all about Ted, and his CGI is very impressive. Ted fits in seamlessly with the rest of the actors on screen, and it feels like he is just one of the gang. Mark Wahlberg does an admirable job playing off this invisible presence, and he seems right at home while testing his comedic chops. Mila Kunis, while stunning as ever, doesn’t have much to work with thanks to her dull character, but she does the best with what she has.

While I’m not ready to label Ted as a *great* movie, it is easily one of this year’s biggest surprises, right up there with 21 Jump Street. This film is better than it has any right to be, and it makes for one of this summer’s more enjoyable comedic offerings. Fans of Family Guy will appreciate this most, but its concept can appeal to anyone. Just be warned: this is not a family-friendly comedy.


23 thoughts on “Movie Review: Ted [2012]

  1. jsicktheslick says:

    Great review! I think I’m in the same boat as everyone on this one: it looked strange and silly, but I still want to see it. Seth MacFarlane has his moments of comedy genius (every once in awhile there’s a great Family Guy moment), but this might be the start of too much of the same. Regardless, I want to see this for sure.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks man. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the mood for a comedy. As you said, MacFarlane is hit-and-miss, but when he hits it can be hilarious. You’ll have to check back in when you see it. 😀

  2. Gary Smith says:

    Excellent review. I’m not a fan of Seth MacFarlane (though I once did enjoy Family Guy), but I am looking forward to watching this once it finally hits HBO or something. It looks funny, and I am a fan of both Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks Gary. I used to be a huge fan of Family Guy but never got into it again after the reboot. Ted does play out like a longer episode of the show, but it has a lot of funny moments. It’s definitely worth at least a rental.

  3. sati says:

    Great to know you don’t need to like Family Guy to like this – I really don’t understand the appeal of that show. I will definetly see TED, just for Mila Kunis, but I wish she worked on different material than all of those comedies.

    • Eric says:

      There are some similarities to Family Guy, no doubt, but I think even non-fans can dig Ted. I’m with you on Kunis, though. I would love to see her branch out some more.

  4. Kristen says:

    Great review, similar thoughts as me! I despise Family Guy and figured I’d hate this and yet I couldn’t help but laugh. The one-liners are solid and actually blend raunchy humor with heart! And the 80s references are hilarious!

  5. Castor says:

    Funny movie with plenty of laughs which is all you expect from the previews anyways. A bit too generic in terms of where the plot goes but overall, it’s a good time. Glad you had fun with it, Eric 😀

    • Eric says:

      Cheers, Castor. I actually didn’t like the trailer at all, so I was especially surprised when the good reviews started to trickle in. I laughed a lot, which is all I needed from the movie.

  6. ruth says:

    I have never watched Family Guy and I feel that the foul language will put me off. I’m still on the fence about this one, though I did enjoy 21 Jump Street despite some of the vulgarity. Great write-up, man.

  7. sanclementejedi says:

    I would have ditched that sub plot and had Mila Kunis get naked with that valuable screen time.

    something I have been thinking about with regards to this film is how seemlessly they blended the bear into the film. It’s so seemless that you forget he is not real. Bravo who ever CGI’d that thing.

    • Eric says:

      Haha, now I would have no complaints about THAT idea. Might even bump up my score a bit. 😀

      But yeah, I was amazed at just how good Ted looked as well. They did a better job with that teddy bear than a lot of the summer blockbusters did with anything. Impressive stuff.

  8. The Blog of Big Ideas says:

    I certainly do not expect it to be a family-friendly comedy, as nothing that Seth McFarlane does can be.
    I’ve heard mostly positive reviews of Ted. While very few are truly positive, none seem to throw the film under the bus.
    I have read more than a share of comments that emphasize the exchanges between Walhberg and Ted as the best the film has to offer and I don’t doubt it.
    Mila Kunis seems dull and flat even from the trailers, so I’m sure you’re right about that too.
    Nice concise review Eric!

    • Eric says:

      Thanks Niels! You know, if you just go into Ted looking to laugh, I think you will be pleased. It’s not a great movie by any means, but it’s a fun way to spend a couple hours.

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