If you don’t know who Seth MacFarlane is, you may recognize his work with Family Guy, American Dad, and a useless spinoff named The Cleveland Show. If you haven’t heard of any of these shows, good job, you’ve avoided low quality comedy. What MacFarlane tends to do is take a joke, stretch it as far out as he can, and then keep going until no one is laughing. It may be funny for the first time, but once repeated, it can really piss people off.
But that’s MacFarlane in the world of television. What would happen if he brought his comedy to the big screen and was given an R rating? Well, MacFarlane’s first feature movie, Ted, will be a test of what he can bring.
John Bennett was a lonely 8 year old boy. The one thing he always wanted was a best friend, but none of the neighborhood kids wanted to take responsibility of that role. That all changed Christmas day when John got a stuffed bear that he named Teddy.
John played with Teddy all day and loved him so much, the only problem is: he’s inanimate. So he made a Christmas wish to make his bear come to life. Well, with a little magic and what the fuck ever else, Teddy came to life! And now John truly has a best friend that he can talk to and share everything with.
Fast forward 27 years to 2012. John (Mark Wahlberg) is in a happy relationship with his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis). But the sparkle in their relationship seems to be going down as John can’t seem to move on from his childhood friend Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane). Ted has taken some of the intimacy away from their relationship because all John wants to do is hang out with him.
Twenty-seven years later, Ted is a lazy, rude, foul-mouthed teddy bear that just sits around and smokes pot all day. It sounds like a half decent plot, but it overstays its welcome.
Ted tells a basic story of the guy torn between his immature friend and his girlfriend. Only, you have to swap the friend with a teddy bear. From that point, there isn’t much else you can do.
I feel this movie has a hard time rounding itself off. Plot wise, it sails pretty smooth and according to what’s expected when events happen, but the ending felt rushed and incomplete. It seems they just decided to rush through it quickly and call it a wrap without much of a revelation.
A lot of the humor in Ted is your basic MacFarlane slapstick, racist, lowbrow humor that you would get from watching any of his TV shows. The only difference is that he has an R rating. So we just get a lot more “fucks” and the occasional shit joke.
I’ll admit: I enjoyed the first couple seasons of Family Guy. It was the right amount of dumb humor, but it also had wit. But ever since it came back in 2005 due to high demand from overplay on Adult Swim, it hasn’t been the same. MacFarlane is constantly feeding you jokes about farting and grown men being babies that you just get sick of it. He takes his jokes and drags them on until EVERYBODY is annoyed.
I felt this was sometimes the problem in Ted as well. There is one primary gag that keeps being brought up from a low budget 1980’s movie that he never laid to rest. We get it: you lived in the 80’s and remember a lot of crap that nobody watched; quit reminding us.
Besides those running drags, there are just blatant jokes that don’t quite hit. He goes straight for the toilet and racist humor and is not the least bit subtle or clever about it. I sometimes think 14 year olds write his jokes. If I had anyone I can compare him to, it would be Adam Sandler. Some gags are fairly funny and cute, but it slowly wears off into low quality comedy.
Let’s talk about the cast. Marky Mark brings out a more laid back side of his comedy act. He’s not as short tempered and avid about making fun of the fag across the street as he was in The Other Guys, but he still plays somewhat of a Boston douche.
Mila Kunis is the neglected girlfriend. Her role doesn’t seem as significant as it should be. She mainly sits in the back as Ted takes front stage and says “LOOK AT ME! A TALKING/CURSING TEDDY BEAR”.
As for Ted, voiced by Seth MacFarlane: He really just seems like another one of his TV characters. His voice is distinct and you can hear the New England accent of Family Guy’s Peter Griffin mixed with his more natural voice of Brian the dog.
As the characters are all together, they really don’t get anywhere. The whole movie seemed to be spent trying to accomplish something that in the end they say, “Eh, fuck it”. Sure, John may have grown a little maturity, but Lori and Ted both went full circle and made the entire movie feel unnecessary.
In the end, Ted isn’t an awful movie. But it isn’t really that good. It’s rude, crude, and pretty lowbrow. Poor man’s comedy, if you will. And there is a target audience for this: those who dig MacFarlane’s other work. Ted is right up your alley with as many dick, fart, racist, fat, shit, drug, and just plain poor quality jokes with little to no wit as you can willingly take…
Ted – 5/10