As the result of a childhood wish, John Bennett’s teddy bear, Ted, came to life and has been by John’s side ever since – a friendship that’s tested when Lori, John’s girlfriend of four years, wants more from their relationship.
Seth McFarlane is mostly known for two things, Family Guy and his stints as a ‘Roastmaster’ at Comedy Centrals Celebrity Roast. In his first feature length movie ‘Ted’ he tries his hands at directing and in the end manages to pass his first test.
Mark Wahlberg plays John Bennett, a guy who, as a kid, wished for his teddybear to come to life. After that first few moments of the movie where a voice-over tells us how Ted came about we quickly learn (through a Hangover styled opening slideshow) that Ted, who instantly became a celebrity because he’s a talking/living bear, went on to become a troubled character. This is no ordinary Teddybear, he drinks, smokes bongs, loves weed and mostly utters profanities and dirty jokes.
It’s this set-up (and a standard subplot about John trying to save his relationship with the ever so lovely Mila Kunis) that the movie takes advantage from. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as well directed as it could have been. Seth is great at voicing the bear and creating elaborate set-ups for Ted to shine in. Yet what works in Family Guy in a 24 minute show isn’t the way to go when you are sitting down for a 99 minute movie.
On top of that you need to love this type of humor as well. It’s in the style of, how else could it be, Family Guy and it’s garnered quite some negative buzz over a Lou Gehrig’s joke thats in there.
Ted itself is wonderfully realized by CGI, he looks and moves like a teddybear would, and he comes with a cleverly thought out personality, give it 30 minutes or so and you’ll forget you are watching an animated bear and instead just see ‘Ted’.
But it’s strength is at times it’s weakness as you will catch yourself waiting for the moments ‘Ted’ comes into play and does something funny, only to sit out another 10 minutes of melodrama from Mark.
To be fair though, Mark Wahlberg is a great actor. His thick Boston accent and his ability to not take himself seriously carries a long way. When he and Ted get into their banter you’ll be hardpressed not to laugh about their bond and their shared (oftentimes crude) humor. It’s a testament to Seth, Mark and the CGI department that they were able to make that part of the movie work.
But whether or not you’ll love Ted or not, you’ll see the hand of a director who has just started out. The movie just doesn’t flow at times and never really decides whether it wants to be a full blown R-rated comedy or a movie with a bit of heart and drama. It’s hard to have both without a good script and Ted barely manages to escape some of the larger pitfalls of comedy. The conclusion can be seen from miles away as well as some of the bad decisions the characters themselves make. However, as it stands, Ted is a reasonable effort for Seth McFarlane into the realm of moviemaking, and a sequel could very well make for a better movie if handled properly.
Ted is what it is, a bunch of clever set-ups, huge laughs and questionable storylines, if you have a thing for Stewie and the gang, chances are you’ll have a good time with Ted too.
If it’s a good comedy you’re looking for, this will turn out to be somewhat of a mixed bag.