Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Ted is this summer's R-rated comedy to see and has the Seth MacFarlane signature all over it. From top to bottom, the humor and structure is similar to what you would expect from Seth MacFarlane with cultural references, crude humor where nothing is off limits, and cutaway gags. Even the music has that weird happy-go-lucky "Family Guy" twist to it. The film is a mash-up of a magical fairytale, a love story, and a stoner bro-mance. You can see elements of each of these genres as well as the TV influence with the live-action animation that is reminiscent of "Alf" (1986-1990), but without the puppet and "Paul" without the excessive special effects.
This is a story centered on John Bennet (Mark Wahlberg) and his teddy bear (Seth MacFarlane), who comes to life as the result of a childhood wish. Now 35, John is in a 4 year relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis) who puts up with the fact that her boyfriend has an immature teddy bear for a best friend, and gives an ultimatum that forces John to choose between her and his Thunder Buddy. Ted, much like Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, and Justin Bieber was a childhood star making appearances as a talking teddy bear on the Tonight Show. However, just like those other childhood stars he is now grown up and no one gives a shit.
Not surprisingly, Seth MacFarlane stole the show as the voice of Ted sounding enough like Peter Griffin that they even worked in a joke about it. Ted is an anti-semitic version of "Alf" that enjoys giving women the Dirty Fozzie and when going for a job interview looks like Snuggles Accountant. He is also the best friend you will ever have and when you squeeze him will tell you that he loves you.
Seth MacFarlane brought in some of his best friends for the film that resulted in an all-star cast. Mila Kunis is coming off a performance in "Friends With Benefits" (2011) where she showed that she is the funny and hot girl next door. She has proven that she is a lot more than just Meg from "Family Guy" or the ditzy hot girl from "That 70s Show". With her character in "Ted", she stands out just enough by bringing a level of maturity to the film that would otherwise be lacking as all the guys around her are assholes that either want to get high or get laid. Mark Wahlberg is generally known for characters that get in fights ("The Fighter") and films that require a lot of running around during action scenes. In "Ted", his character is the kid that nobody wants to hang out with. While all the neighborhood kids are playing beat up the Jew, not even the Jewish kid wants to hang out with him. Much like "The Other Guys" (2010) he is able to show his comic timing and deliver a convincing romantic counterpart to Mila Kunis. However, his singing and dancing skills are not what you remember from his days with the Funky Bunch and is more reminiscent of someone with Parkinson's, but he is still better than Katy Perry singing the theme song to "Octopussy".
It was great to see supporting roles from Joel McHale as the creepy boss that won't stop hitting on Lori; Patrick Warburton (he will always be Putty to me) as the dysfunctional co-worker that might be part of some gay beat me up underworld; Matt Walsh as the weird boss; and who knew Giovanni Ribisi could dance like that? He might be able to give Channing Tatum and "Magic Mike" a run for its money. Giovanni Ribisi is perfecting the crazy guy recently with his performance in "Rum Diary" and only makes it weirder as a father wanting Teddy for his son. He is so weird, that he makes Sinéad O'Connor look good. I am still wondering how they were able to convince Patrick Stewart into narrating the film, but he too provides a maturity to the film. The cameo from Ryan Reynolds was just the right touch to bring a smaller side story full circle.
Going into the film, I expected the R-rated jokes and as a fan of "Family Guy" the humor was perfect. This is a film that I think will surprisingly hold up over the years and for that reason jumps up to a 4 Quack rating. The only thing cooler than this film would be an Apache Helicopter, because they are awesome.