Earlier in the year, I kept trying to get out and see Seth MacFarlane’s feature film debut, Ted… but for one reason or another, I never made it into a theater. Turns out, that was a good thing… because if I had seen this film in a theater, I would have had to be escorted out due to laughing so hard I inevitably would have either made it impossible for others to hear, or I would have pissed myself. Thanks to volume control and the pause button, I didn’t have to worry about that happening at home.
Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) is a teddy bear who comes to life after a young sad little boy, John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), makes a wish at the precise moment that a wish would come true… and a Christmas miracle ensues. Fast forward almost thirty years… what fame they enjoyed in the early years of Ted’s life has faded, as all news stories do, and the pair live together along with John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis). Unfortunately for Lori… it’s not easy having a serious relationship with a man whose best friend is his pot smoking, hard drinking, whore mongering, foul mouthed teddy bear.
Note: That last sentence may be my favorite sentence ever.
What would you expect from the creator of Family Guy… It’s a Wonderful Life? This is not a holiday tale for the family to gather around and get weepy over… this is a crass, profane, overtly rude film that has a fantastic balance of warmth and genuine emotion coupled with some of the more outrageous moments I have seen on film in a while. I haven’t been able to watch Family Guy in almost ten years… when my oldest daughter was born I had no problem with watching The Simpsons with her, so I figured Family Guy would be OK. I think we watched about five minutes of one episode before I realized, holy crap… this is inappropriate. Ted is the same. For as much as I think my kids will someday love this movie… that time is nowhere close to being now.
Getting into any specifics regarding the plot would be pointless… the plot is obvious, boy must become a man by letting go of his childhood in favor of the woman in his life. What isn’t obvious is the execution, and how much you will come to love everyone involved, and how invested you will feel in each of their lives by the end.
Everyone gives a fantastic performance here. MacFarlane tends to lean very heavily on his Peter Griffin voice for Ted, but even that fact is humorously pointed out at one point. Mark Wahlberg, who for me has a ridiculously spotty record, is perfect as the hapless man-child. I believe Wahlberg is an incredible actor, with a very narrow range. If he is playing someone with a below average intelligence or a hunk of beefcake (Boogie Nights, The Perfect Storm, Date Night, The Fighter) he’s fantastic. If he is meant to play a person of intelligence… say, an astronaut (Planet of the Apes) or a science teacher (The Happening), it just doesn’t work. But as the teddy bear loving stoner with an over-fondness for 1980’s Flash Gordon and it’s star, Sam Jones… Wahlberg is a delight. Mila Kunis (who voices Meg on Family Guy) is lovely… what more do I really need to say about her?
There are a number of other goofy cameos and appearances by well known actors sprinkled throughout, most notably Joel McHale playing Lori’s boss, Rex, the douchiest of douches. He uses his smarmy charm to great effect, and becomes a perfect foil to John’s genuine decency. And don’t surprised if one of John’s heroes shows up for a very special guest starring role… and a completely debauched party. Plus, Patrick Stewart narrates the opening and closing of the film… and he says some bad words! Sir Patrick Stewart!
If you enjoy a good profane comedy, Ted is the movie to see… and if this does not appear on multiple “best of” lists this year, I can’t believe there is any justice in this world.
Also… the trailer below is the red band trailer… if you are some little snot nosed kid reading this, go away. But feel free to “like” Mr. Blahg on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @mrblahg… then go away!
I wonder how many lonely men made a wish that their blow up dolls would come to life,
Cornelius J. Blahg
Available on Blu-ray/DVD and OnDemand