Ted Movie Review
Pretty damned funny.
As a fan of Family Guy and American Dad I have to say I was expecting to laugh at this movie and was not disappointed. Seth MacFarlane is a comedic genius. However, his genius is definitely more of the idiot savant variety in that he seems incapably of doing anything other than Family Guy and it’s clones, of which this movie is definitely one. While not as completely derivative as American Dad is (pretty much the same show with moderately different characters IMO) the humor in Ted is more or less lifted straight from the writers room for Family Guy.
What does this mean for this movie? Basically if you are a fan of Family Guy you will love this movie, and if you are not you might as well stay home and watch Law and Order reruns. Fortunately I and almost all my friends are fans so we enjoyed it.
There are a few problems I am having with the film however. The first is the same issue I have with any of the Transformers movie: too much humans, not enough robots (or in this case teddy bear). In this movie every scene with Ted in it was hilarious and engrossing, and every scene with just the humans boring and drag-tastic. I thought Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis did a fine job with the roles they were handed, but the comedic focus was so on Ted that in comparison a scene without him was like watching a 2nd grade play performed by the children of complete strangers. The story and dialog outside of Ted was tenuous and flaccid at best, and without his lines and actions pushing the plot there were parts where I was in serious danger of dozing off.
The other issue I had I blame on the marketing team behind this movie. All the best lines and jokes from the movie I had already heard about 20 times in assorted trailers and radio commercials. In fact, if you have seen more than a couple trailers odds are you know exactly the plot, characters, and best jokes.
All that being said, the movie is indeed super funny and entertaining. Mark Wahlberg managed to generate a stronger buddy chemistry with Ted than I have seen from a lot of movies featuring actual human actors. Mila Kunis is shockingly easy to look at and plays the offended girlfriend very well. There were a couple other characters who really only served to push the story along, but they were kind of funny too. The dialog (with Ted involved) is fast, clever, outrageous, offensive, and above all hilarious.
The story. As a boy John (Mark Wahlberg-Boogie Nights, Contraband, the Fighter) wished his teddy bear to life and it actually happened. Fast forward to adulthood and John now has a dead end loser job at a car rental place and Ted sits on his couch smoking pot, drinking alcohol, and regularly consorting with prostitutes. In spite of the fact that he is a class one stoner loser John has the hottest girlfriend in the history of the XX chromosome Lori (Mila Kunis-Black Swan, Friends with Benefits, the voice of Meg on Family Guy. P.S. Mila I love you). They all live together until Lori comes home to find her apartment overrun with prostitutes who have performed a number of unsavory acts on the premises. She drops the ultimatum hammer on John who caves (as any guy should when faced with Mila). They set up Ted with an apartment and a job, where he meets his new girlfriend. Meanwhile Ted is being stalked by a couple of creepy white trash fans (Giovanni Ribisi-Saving Private Ryan, Contraband, Avatar and Aedin Mincks-the Hangover Part II, Faster) who later actually give the plot some points to hang onto.
Honestly, the entire plot serves only as a platform upon which Ted can deliver his offensive, obscene, scatological, sacrilegious, and above all funny lines and actions. It moves along like the sober driver of a party bus while the frat boys in the back drink, fart, laugh, puke, and moon cars out the window.
The stars. Honestly very funny. I mean hurt-your-stomach-laughing funny. Two stars. The dialog and jokes were all extremely clever and well written. Two stars. Excellent dialog. One star. The CGI for Ted was pretty flawless. One star. I’m going to give Mark Wahlberg extra props for his ability to act without an actual character to interact with. The fight scene was particularly good (and funny). One star. If I had to spend the rest of my life locked in a chair with my eyes clamped open a Clockwork Orange style and had to look at one face forever, I would choose Mila Kunis. One star. (Alex image courtesy of the Movie T Shirts category) I will give acting props to both Mark and Mila for their interaction and dialog with Ted. Excellent chemistry, although their Ted-less scenes were less than riveting. One star. Somehow, in spite of the fact that all the jokes and humor came from the “rated R just to be rated R” school that I have railed against in movies like the Change Up, I found the humor to be really well done. I guess fart and excrement humor can be funny if it it done right. One star. Total: 10 stars.
The black holes. Scenes without Ted really kind of sucked. Like having to eat boiled spinach in between bites of delicious pasta. One black hole. Pacing was inconsistent. Sometimes the story dragged, other times it accelerated to warp speed. One black hole. The entirety of the plot was nothing more than a framework for Ted to deliver one liners. One black hole. Total: three black holes.
A grand total of seven stars, and my hearty endorsement of seeing this film. I think you will enjoy it a lot. It is nice to finally come across a movie I can say go see after the never ending deluge of mediocrity that has been the last few months of movies. Date movie? God no. Unless you are in a committed relationship and have already seen her naked on three or more different occasions this movie will c-block you like having her ex boyfriend turn out to be the waiter at dinner. See it with your drinking buddies. Bathroom break? That’s easy. There is a scene where John and Lori go to dinner and discuss their feelings and what to do about Ted that is 100% worthless. Nothing is revealed that will in any way contribute to your enjoyment of the movie.
Thanks for reading. This movie was fun. I’m seeing the Amazing Spider Man later today and will probably write it up tonight. I would have seen it this last weekend but was busy getting pissed off at a Warhammer tournament. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. If you have any comments on this film or review feel free to post them here. If you have any off topic questions or comments email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day.