July 2, 2012

Movie Review: Ted

Seth McFarlane makes the leap from the small screen to the large and from the animated to the living and breathing with Ted. The comedy is certainly funny, however it is a little reliant on McFarlane's television formula of going for the outrageous and peppering with pop culture references. There are moments where the heart actually seeps through and it is in these moments that the movie is saved, but it is far from a great film. It is also ironic that it takes a shot at Adam Sandler films while insisting on playing at the same level. Interesting.

The movie starts with a young boy wishing he had a friend, any friend. He was even rejected by the Jewish boy being eat up on Christmas. Well, upon receiving a big ole teddy bear from his parents, young John Bennett makes a wish, he wishes that Teddy could talk and they could be friends forever. He next morning, the Teddy is alive and ready to be friends for life. Teddy is the talk of the town, but as with anything, notoriety dies down and an adult John is roommates with the well worn bear. Both are slacking, pot smoking, potty mouths.

The surprising bit of this situation is that despite the slacker attitude and a dead end job, John (Mark Wahlberg) has managed to land a long time girlfriend who looks like Mila Kunis, Lori. She suffers in silence, waiting for a proposal and for Ted to move out.

Well, the basic plot moves forward as your standard romantic comedy with the added bonus of a talking teddy bear. We also get the added bonus of a creepy dad (Giovanni Ribisi) and his son who want to buy Teddy. I cannot say there is anything special about the plot. It moves forward in predictable fits an spurts, but it still manages to be entertaining.

What makes Ted work is that there is actual heart in these relationships. As hard as it may be to believe, there is actually truth to these relationships and, when buoyed by vulgar humor, make for an interesting experience. No, not a great one, but one that works more often than it doesn't.

Still, this is far from a truly memorable outing as it often feels like a big screen adaptation of Family Guy comedy and this often made it drag a little bit and took me out of the moment. However, I did love that hotel fight scene, it doesn't quite reach the heights of They Live, but they try. I also quite enjoyed the appearance of Sam J. Jones and his subsequent role in the film. If you don't know who he is, we can' be friends. Seriously, though, he was Flash Gordon in the film of the same title from the early 1980's cheesy science fiction flick.

Ted is a funny movie, not a perfect one. It is certainly worth seeing. Ted is a pretty funny character and provides an interesting foil to the rest of the cast. Now, while it is worth seeing, I would like to see McFarlane expand beyond the Family Guy stylings that seem to infect his writing process.


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