Director: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane
Running Time: 106 mins
Release: 1st August
Some kids just can’t make friends. Try as he might, nine year old John Bennett can’t seem to land a buddy, so when his parents get him a stuffed bear for Christmas, he considers it the friend he never had. After a clichéd wish on a shooting star, Ted comes to life, solving all John’s problems. Of course not everyone sees it like that, Ted is, after, all a walking talking teddy bear. Some media frenzy naturally ensues, but as the droll narration of Patrick Stewart points out “after a while no one gives a shit”.
Once you’ve cleared all the fairy dust off your face, Ted settles into a pretty standard buddy movie. The grown up John and Ted are just as close as ever, only now sleigh rides and dress up have turned into bong hits and menial jobs. John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) makes for a worthy damsel and fly in the ointment as she pushes for a more romantic life without the constant involvement of Ted. After some childish decisions John invariably loses Lori and so begins the classic ‘get your girlfriend back’ plot, a la Mallrats.
Ted is stuffed with cameos, from Ryan Reynolds to Norah Jones, who appears on stage with Wahlberg’s character as the pair bang out a charmingly cringe inducing cover of the theme to Octopussy. As cameos go, Jones’ actually not bad. Granted the guts of the humour is based on the shock value of the saccharine princess cursing nonchalantly. However it’s Sam Jones’ (aka Flash Gordon) surprise appearance that’s truly memorable. Ted and John are die-hard fans of the 80’s sci fi schlock-fest, so when Jones turns up at one of Ted’s parties it’s like a dream come true. What initially looks to be a shameless flaunting of a washed up celebrity morphs into one of the funniest scenes in the movie. A long night of drug intake, property damage, and duck fighting proves Flash Gordon is still a force to be reckoned with.
Alongside the litany of humorous cameos, the main cast is near perfect. Wahlberg nails the likable, immature wayward romantic type. He has an eerie amount of on screen rapport with Ted, who only really exists in post-production. Playing corporate swinging dick Rex is Joel McHale (Community), who smarms his way through Ted with a level of sleaze that’s usually reserved for ill-lit Mexican strip clubs. There’s also Giovanni Ribisi (Saving Private Ryan) who gives a great performance as an anguished, jittery Ted devotee. The scenes with him and his son are hilariously creepy. In particular, a crotch heavy dance number with Ribisi manages to tickle and revolt at the same time.
Considering how stale Family Guy has become, the inconsistency of American Dad, and the utter flop that is The Cleveland Show, it’s fair to say that Seth MacFarlane’s output has been on the decline. He’s been stuck in a rut of samey characters peddling vulgarity and ignorance. With Ted however, he has delivered something refreshing. not that Ted isn’t vulgar or ignorant, he’s just as un-PC as Peter Griffin and probably twice as harsh, but he never comes across as jaded. Ted proves that MacFarlane can still generate laughs, all he needed was a fresh format.