We all know MacFarlane from Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. We all know his quirky, cut-to humor and Ted was more of the same. At times I felt like I was watching and extended live-action Family Guy episode. That was not necessarily a bad thing. The feeling wasn’t helped by MacFarlane casting his regular Family Guy voice actors as a good majority of the cast: Mila Kunis (Meg on Family Guy) Alex Borstien (Lois) Patrick Stewart (a regular on American Dad) and Seth himself, who voices Peter Griffin and a host of his show’s characters, voices Ted in this movie. They even make an in joke about it: that Ted sounds like Peter Griffin and in fact MacFarlane does put on his “obnoxious New Englander” voice for the character.
The story itself is thought-provoking, if not that complex. What would happen in adulthood if your childhood wish came true? It’s a concept worth exploring as it has tinges of what happens to Hollywood’s child stars, as well as a subtle scolding on our blind need for wish-fulfillment. We see a young John Bennett (Wahlberg) wish his teddy bear alive, much to the delight of the media. Appearing on the Johnny Carson show, Ted reaches the height of child star fame and then that star promptly falls. What remains is the life of a child celebrity thrown away. Drugs, hookers and irresponsibility rule the day. John too has grown up and is along for all the debauchery. The only problem is, he’s now 35 and still a stoner working at a dead-end job. His girlfriend has had enough. It’s the teddy bear or her. In the end they all come together, wishes are made and everyone is happy. We even get a gratuitous Taylor Lautner joke at the end. Hilarious!
While I couldn’t quite see Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis in a relationship together, individually they did a great job with the material. As a native of the Boston area known as Dorchester, Wahlberg was in his element and pulled out his Boston accent and mannerisms to great effect. The supporting cast was just as good, with Joel Mchale putting in a creepy performance as Kunis’ slimy boss. We also got to see a blast from the past with Sam Jones playing himself and Wahlberg and stuffed Ted going all starry-eyed over the former Flash Gordon star. Even though it’s probably the first movie offer he’s had in a long time, Jones acquits himself well and I see many Comic Con signings in the future.
If you don’t like the Family Guy sense of humor I doubt you will like this movie. It’s raunchy. Ted says he’s written angry letters to Mattel about not giving him a penis. He tries to get out of being hired at a dead-end job by telling the manager he’s been eating his wife’s box. There’s pot smoking at almost every turn, even a cocaine scene. This is not a kid’s movie and thankfully I didn’t see any kids in the theater. Every note was either absurd or funny. Nothing fell flat and you can’t ask much more from a comedy than that.
Go see it if you love Seth MacFarlane, raunchy comedy, or need a good wake up call. Stop watching movies and get a real job, loser!
7 teddy bears out of 10