Published June 28, 2012
“Ted” is what happens when you give the creator of “Family Guy” the freedom of an R-rating and a big budget – and the final product is nothing short of raunchy, comedy gold.
We’ve all seen the cheesy commercials for Teddy Ruxpin or My Buddy and Me (and Kid Sister!) and now Seth McFarlane takes the idea of the talking teddy bear in a hilarious and crass new direction.
“Ted” opens with an idyllic Boston suburb on Christmas Eve while the professorial narration by none other than Patrick Stewart shows us how young John wishes for a friend and receives Ted, a talking teddy bear. The miraculous event propels Ted into stardom with gigs on the Carson show, but he eventually, with age, he becomes a has-been.
As adults, John (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted slum around, drink, smoke and watch “Flash Gordon,” much to the chagrin of John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis). The two struggle with leaving their adolescent lifestyles to find something meaningful to do with their lives.
Then there’s Giovanni Ribisi (at his absolute creepiest), adding comedic suspense, as he stalks Ted with the intent of stealing him for his own sick and twisted son.
Ted’s vulgar personality and often-taboo dialogue save the film from becoming the victim of a typical buddy movie or romantic comedy. Ted and John are two of the best movie ‘buddies’ since Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte in “48 Hours.” The relationship between John and Ted is genuinely honest and sweet, and that is a remarkable feat between an actor and a CGI bear. Most of the credit goes to the script and to McFarlane’s superb voicing of Ted, replete with a charming Boston accent. The balance between the shocking humor and the tenderness of their friendship gives “Ted” staying power. By film’s end, you’ll miss them.
Tender moments aside; let’s not forget this is Seth McFarlane. He unabashedly flames celebrities, ethnicities and movies. In fact, very little in our culture is left unscathed and some of those un-PC moments will make you laugh so hard you’ll cry.
McFarlane brings some of his “Family Guy” crew to the film, most notably the lovely Mila Kunis, the dryly sarcastic Patrick Warburton and composer Walter Murphy. Murphy and McFarlane wrote the catchy opening number “Everyone Needs a Best Friend,” which is performed by Norah Jones.
“Ted” lays on thick the ‘random’ humor that has made “Family Guy” an icon in contemporary comedy. The 1980 cult classic “Flash Gordon” becomes a hilarious device and McFarlane makes wonderful use of some surprising cameos.
Fans of 80’s nostalgia, “Family Guy” and “American Dad” will certainly love McFarlane’s inimitable style brought to the big screen. But be warned, those that aren’t fans or can’t stomach his humor will most likely want to skip “Ted.”