There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to choose between his woman and his best friend. For most men, it doesn’t happen while they’re still emotionally attached to their teddy bears. For John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), it does. John’s girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis), feels that it’s time to get serious in their relationship, something that requires him to drop his childhood stuffed bear, Ted.
Now, we’ve all seen the trailers. We know that Ted is not your average teddy bear. We also know that Family Guy’s creator, Seth MacFarlane, is the voice behind this foul-mouthed novelty. If there’s anything to expect from farceur Macfarlane in one of his productions, it’s that ribald, offensive sense of humor that we either love or hate him for. I happen to favor his creations, animated television series Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and American Dad! Not sure whether you’d enjoy Ted? Are you able to stomach an entire episode of any of these cartoons without scoffing and reaching for the remote? If not, do not go see Ted!
Ted is a teddy bear that came to life by way of that convenient cliché shooting star that seems to be the choice justification of supernatural occurrences in real life for screenwriters. I found this to be what I disliked most about the film. It’s unoriginal and just plain lazy. Isn’t there any other way, convincing or not, that Ted could have come to life? Ted belonged to John since he was just a kid. They grew up together, smoked pot together, and feared thunder together. They even have an amusing coping song to get them through thunderstorms. None of this changed later, when John got older. His girlfriend of a few years, Lori, became so fed up with John’s immature behavior around his little friend that she gave him an ultimatum: Either Ted goes, or she does.
Afraid to lose his girl, John urged Ted to put on a suit and find a job. His supermarket job interview was a riot! Each disrespectful remark Ted made to the owner was even more reason for him to be hired. Ted eventually got his own place and a rowdy girlfriend to bring there. Everything seemed to be on the up and up for Lori and John, until one night during an important mixer at her boss’ house. Ted called John to say he was having a house party, and he’d never believe who was in attendance — none other than their favorite movie character, Flash Gordon. John put aside Lori’s feelings to head over and see Flash. How was he to know he’d wind up doing shots, cocaine, and fight in a heavy battle with Ming? Hours later, he realizes that he should be with Lori at her thing and runs out to head back. It’s too late to slip back to her party and save face, because she’s outside Ted’s door, as disappointed as ever.
I didn’t understand the Flash Gordon references, but apparently, the peeved neighbor, “Ming,” referenced a character in that movie. What I hear about it, is that it’s a 1980 film based on a comic strip about a football player who visits another planet. It is rumored that director Breck Eisner (Sahara, 2005) will direct a remake of Flash Gordon in 2013. Is this really necessary? Flash Gordon is before my time — and anyone else’s under 40 years of age. I think this affects the film’s reception by a bulk of the audience: 20-30 year-olds. Still, the film was enjoyable overall, outdated references notwithstanding.
Before watching, I was forewarned that watching Ted was like watching a 106-minute episode of Family Guy, which mostly intrigued me further. I — like many others in their early 20’s who enjoy Macfarlane’s work — was psyched for the release of Ted in theaters. I have to admit though, I expected the same Mark Wahlberg attempt at humor that I saw in The Other Guys, in 2010. I got what I expected from him, but Will Ferrell is a strong enough comedian to carry Wahlberg and get us used to him in comedy. Seth and Mark made a good team in Ted. The friendship was believable, and we are able to feel the bromance in the air, but they make sure we know they are not gay. I’ll admit that my eyes swelled (but did not drip tears) near the end of the movie when Ted and John almost lose each other and Lori steps in to prevent it. Ironic, I know.
Narrated by Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Ted was an oxymoron: a wholesomely lewd film, if that makes sense. I mean, disregarding the curse words, drugs, sex, nudity, sexism, and racism, the moral of the story is love and acceptance. I would recommend this movie to anyone who can tolerate all of the above. Most important, I recommend leaving the kids at home for this one, parents. As it is, they shouldn’t be fans of Stewie Griffin, let alone become fans of Ted.