Today’s offering for your comedic edification is the excellent new movie TED; written and directed by Family Guy’s own Seth MacFarlane. And it’s a real doozie. Trust me.
I actually broke my golden rule of watching the trailers this time round (or I could well have actually missed the movie altogether! Living in Switzerland sometimes means that the view of what makes good box-office doesn’t always coincide with the English speaking parts of the planet).
The storyline is simple and I’d be spoiling nothing by sharing it with you here: “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”.
The premise is obviously off-kilter and the ending is somewhat predictable. But Ted is one of those movies that’s all about the journey, rather than the destination. With it’s references to pop-culture, drugs, sex, toilet humor and bodily functions it certainly won’t appeal to everyone’s sense of humor. Some will undoubtedly find it rather juvenile. But it’s the sort of thing that tickles my funny-bone and was exactly what I expected from MacFarlane. I’ll certainly be grabbing a DVD or Blu-ray copy when it’s released. (The sort of movie I’d watch time and again ;o)
If you’re a Family Guy or American Dad fan, then you’re used to talking babies, pets and/or aliens. So Ted puts us on familiar ground. Though since it’s R-rated, and some of the usual limitations are lifted, it’s pleasantly more outrageous than usual.
Wahlberg was excellent in the role of John Bennett. It made a change from his usual action roles. Although his character was more loveable than his real-life tougher upbringing could warrant; his teenage dabbling with drugs made the whole sucking on a bong, wasting his life away more believable. I wonder what his kids will think now that he’s a more laid back, Catholic, family guy? Kinda cool and pretty tame compared to his formative years I expect. (You can’t hide sh1t like that from your kids, especially when you’re in the public eye and living in an internet age).
Mila Kunis was cute as John’s love interest Lori. Both her and Wahlberg did well, acting to whatever replaces a talking teddy bear, before the special affects are plastered on. Interestingly enough, she also did the voice-over for Meg Griffin to MacFarlane’s Peter Griffin on Family Guy. So this isn’t the first time those two had worked together. (Both Ted and Family Guy must’ve been a real hoot to work on. Tho’ I guess I’d use ‘work’ in the loosest possible sense).
Having written, directed and produced the movie; in addition to providing the voice over for Ted; Seth MacFarlane obviously steals the show. Everything Ted says and does, all the riffs and one-liners are priceless. His out-look on life, his priorities and the way he approaches his career. (To John: “You can not take responsibility for anything that goes on in your life”. From John: “and you can”? Obvious reply: “I don’t have to; I’m a f***in’ teddy bear”)? Classic!
Favorite parts for me were: the narration by Patrick Stewart; the part where John tells his parents that Ted is alive (particularly his mum’s summation of the situation: “It’s a Christmas miracle. You’re just like the baby Jesus”); John & Ted partying with their boyhood hero; John & Ted’s fight in the hotel room; and well…pretty much any scene with John & Ted’s out-there conversations.
I also loved how Norah Jones and Sam Jones both appeared as themselves and played along for laughs. Particularly the latter. I’ve never actually seen Sam Jones in any other movie except Flash Gordon; so it was excellent the way he played along with the whole Flash persona. (Was there a “what would Flash Gordon do”? in there somewhere from John/Ted? Or did I imagine that part? Kinda like South Park’s “what would Brain Botano do”)?
If you’re into Family Guy, pop culture and toilet humor in general; then this movie is an absolute must for you. I’d give it a 5 out of 5 and a double thumbs up. Zang!