John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a 9 year-old boy from Boston with no friends, when his parents give him a teddy bear for Christmas. When John wishes for his teddy to become real, he wakes up to a walking, talking bear called Ted (Seth MacFarlane). After a brief stint as a celebrity, Ted and John both grow up. Now working as a car hire salesman, John lives with Ted and his girlfriend of four years, Lori. However, as their four year anniversary approaches, Lori starts to resent Ted’s presence in the house; blaming John’s lack of advancement at his workplace on the bear, and asking him to kick Ted out. As John struggles to find the right balance between his best friend and his girlfriend, Ted has to deal with a creepy stalker Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), and his son.
Ted is inappropriately, outrageously funny at times. It’s directed by Seth MacFarlane, and has a very similar sense of comedy to his TV series, Family Guy. Like Family Guy, the film fires off as many jokes and gags as it possibly can and, in doing so, has you laughing out loud for a good portion of the 106 minute running time. However, the humour misses its mark on just as many occasions as it hits it. Again, like Family Guy, Ted features inappropriate jokes ranging from sex-based to racial stereotyping. Nevertheless, it is an undeniably funny film – especially in the scenes featuring John and Ted “bro-ing” out. It is a shame, therefore, that it suffers from the classic comedy problem; a lack of plot. MacFarlane is a first time feature film director, and it shows when he is forced to work with the sensitive or emotional scenes. You’ll find yourself cringing during these scenes, and just waiting for the jokes to start again.
At about the 80 minute mark, the film shifts gears as the stalker-ish Donny and his son get more involved in the story. This part felt well-paced and more entertaining than the rest of the story, and perhaps could have had more of a focus throughout the film.
Wahlberg and Kunis both turn out solid performances; showing their comedy chops once again. MacFarlane is good, but you can here the “Peter Griffin” and “Stewie” in his voice at different points throughout the film. Ribisi is, as usual, playing a seedy, nervous, crazy person. While this is certainly not against type for him, it is obvious why he gets these roles – because he’s really good at them, and in Ted, he doesn’t disappoint. Patrick Warburton’s small role as one of John’s co-workers provides some humour, but especially so when Warburton is paired with the best cameo of the film (best not revealed). Yet, this cameo is just one of many. And if you’re a fan of the show ‘Flash Gordon’, you’ll be in heaven watching this movie.
Overall, Ted is an enjoyably outrageous film that will have you laughing out loud, along with most of the cinema, in places. It’s let down, though, by the sloppy emotional scenes and some unfunny jokes.
by Jacob Richardson
Ted is in cinemas in the USA from 29th June 2012 and here in the UK from 1st August