We’re pleased to announce that Lee Barratt from Gallows will be acting as a guest reviewer for us! Drummer by day, film critic by night – who knew? Check out what he thought of Universal‘s latest offering, Ted.
After the runaway success of his small screen creations ‘Family Guy’ and ‘American Dad’, I’m surprised it’s taken Seth MacFarlane this long to venture in to feature length films. This crude comedy with a heart about a manboy and his teddy bear is his first foray in to movie directing and it’s a belter.
Those familiar with MacFarlane will find all the ingredients you’d expect from his work, with lashings of off the cuff humour mixed with highly sarcastic digs at modern pop culture. The fact that most of them come from a walking, talking teddy bear (voiced and mo capped by MacFarlane himself) is what makes ‘Ted’ one of the most stand out comedies of the year.
‘Ted’ tells the story of a lonely, young boy named John (played by Mark Wahlberg in his adult years) who makes a wish on Christmas day for his new teddy bear to talk. Before you know it, Ted is alive and a national celebrity while the grown up John remains his “thunder buddy for life” (a reference to one of the most memorable scenes in the movie when the two sing the foul mouthed Thunder song).
Lori (Mila Kunis) is John’s long suffering girlfriend who loves him but knows he can never get on with his life properly while the foul mouthed Ted is still around to get stoned and party with. After a succession of last chances, she ultimately gives him the choice – it’s Ted or her. Can John leave his highly inappropriate stuffed buddy behind or will their love of Flash Gordon and getting high ruin John’s love life forever?
Throw into the equation, weirdo Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) who wants to kidnap Ted for his even weirder son to play with/torture and Lori’s lecherous boss, Rex (Joel McHale) and we have ourselves a movie that clearly separates the likeable characters from the ones who will make your skin crawl. McHale in particular plays the part of the smug, over confident boss a bit too well. Ribisi’s character unfortunately feels a little half baked and tacked on to create some kind of awkward threat which is a shame as he’s an excellent actor.
Despite some negative mutterings that all the best parts of the movie were in the trailer, I found ‘Ted’ to be pretty consistent all the way through to the closing credits. True, a few jokes miss the mark and some of the American pop culture references were a little too obscure for the majority of the theater I was sat in. But on the whole, the laughs come thick, fast and with all the subtlety of an NFL player trying their hand at ballet for the first time.
‘Ted’ is really helped by a great turn from Mark Wahlberg who shows he has a better grasp of comedy than you’d expect along with the ability to poke fun at himself. His rendition of the theme from ‘Octopussy’ is probably the worst that you’ll ever hear. The fact that his co-star wasn’t there most the time makes his performance even more creditable. The gorgeous Mila Kunis is able back up, great eye candy and shares good chemistry with Wahlberg during their flashback and romantic scenes but ultimately, the star of the show is Seth MacFarlane.
In Ted, he’s created a warm, fuzzy character with next to no morals and a dirty mouth that wouldn’t be out of place in British gangster flick ‘Sexy Beast’. Most importantly, there’s a heart inside this teddy bear and it’s that which will endear ‘Ted’ to audiences.
Not quite matching the standard set by ’21 Jump Street’ earlier in the year but definitely an entertaining and memorable comedy, ‘Ted’ will appeal to anyone who’s ever sniggered at a Peter Griffin fart joke or the idea of a child’s stuffed animal humping a cash register. Don’t expect good taste but do expect a good time.
For more of Lee’s film thoughts, you can check out his review blog here.