Writer/director Seth MacFarlane’s inspiration for his TV hit Family Guy came from a thesis written at Uni, but for his latest movie Ted you only have to look on YouTube and search for funny cat videos.
Starring Mila Kunis (Friends with Benefits, Black Swan), Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter, The Lovely Bones) and MacFarlane (American Dad) in the leading roles, Ted tells the story of John Bennett (Bretton Manley), a young boy without any friends who wishes his Teddy would be his best pal for life.
Like 1988’s Big but without the innocence, young John’s wish comes true and his bear is magically given life with the use of CGI and the voice of MacFarlane. From Ted’s first introduction to John’s family, his celebrity rise and his inevitable post fame obscurity, the jokes come quick, fast and predictably from the crass and irreverent supernatural toy.
The film’s plot picks up with a grown up John (Mark Wahlberg) in a dead end job spending most of his time on the sofa with Ted, smoking pot and watching movies. As his four-year anniversary with girlfriend Lori Collins (Mila Kunis) approaches, questions about their relationship and his attachment to Ted have to be tackled.
Apart from an entertaining subplot involving Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar, Gone in Sixty Seconds) and Aedin Mincks (The Hangover Part II, Faster) as creepy father and son Donny and Robert, Ted is a great idea gone wrong. Instead of focusing on the unusual love triangle, Ted is a vehicle for divisive comedy which unapologetically embraces cliché and stereotypes and expects us to laugh at a teddy bear walking in a three piece suit.
The film has a pop at everything from religion to fat kids and uses a misogynistic bear to do so. With the film’s plethora of cultural references from the 70’s and 80’s, Ted could be a funnier Jim Davidson in a bear suit.
Wahlberg is well cast as a laid back pot head with a good heart and works surprisingly well with the computer generated teddy. Kunis is believable as the girlfriend caught in the middle but the performances of Seinfeld favourite Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement, Men In Black II) as John’s workmate Guy and Joel McHale (Community, Spider-Man 2) as Lori’s disturbing boss Rex add a welcome comedic diversion.
Ted is at times an inappropriate curiosity like watching a cat fart. You may laugh but I’m not sure it’s enough to keep you in your seat for nearly two hours. Add in the overplayed cameos of Sam J Jones (Flash Gordon) and Top Gun’s Tom Skerritt the film is in danger of excluding a whole generation of movie goers.
For all its faults, Ted is an enjoyable slapstick comedy laced with juvenile humour. It may lack some imagination and have little of the magic the opening promised but the films re-animated hero gives the audience license to laugh at its immature comedy.
Ted: Certificate 15
On general release