At first glance, Ted seems like a horrible idea. Seth MacFarlane, the genius behind Family Guy and other animated shows, wrote a movie about a beer-swilling, foul-mouthed teddy bear. To me it initially sounded more like the plot of an episode of Family Guy, with Stewie’s bear Rupert coming to life and hanging out with Peter and Brian. It’s not exactly what I want to see in a movie, so yeah, I wrote it off as a piece of garbage. But then after the movie came out, friends were saying good things about it…that it was more than crude shock comedy. I decided I’d give it a chance and threw it on the Netflix queue, and we finally got it in and watched it last night.
The movie stars “Marky Mark” as John, a fairly laid back guy living with his teddy bear cleverly named Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) in “Baaawston”. Yes, Ted is alive due to the magic of a child’s wish on a shooting star or some sappy crap. Oh, and the kicker is that John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) also lives with them from the get-go. See, going into the movie relatively blindly I assumed the story would play out that Lori meets John and they start dating while John keeps his embarrassing pot-smoking teddy bear a secret. Yet MacFarlane changes it up and has it so that Lori and John have already been dating for four years, and Ted is an accepted part of the relationship package.
So where does the story go? Well not too far off from where I assumed it would start. After four years Lori is getting antsy and wants to get a ring on her finger but John is too busy watching cartoons with Ted to truly grow up. After a particularly crazy night Lori says enough is enough, and John is forced to choose between his childhood friend and the love of his life. Shenagins ensue as both John and Ted attempt to grow up between a mess of part time jobs, Flash Gordon cameos and creepy pedophiles. I think you all know how it ends.
So how is MacFarlane’s first attempt at creating a feature film? All in all, not too shabby. I think my only true criticism is that by basing the movie in Boston, the voice of Ted sounds way too much like Brian Griffin. While I have no problem with the voice in general, it’s more the fact that constantly hearing it made me want to compare the movie to Family Guy, and I didn’t want to do that. Otherwise the movie was actually pretty funny. The jokes had more depth to them then just obscene shock humor, and I loved John and Ted’s obsession with the 1980′s Flash Gordon movie. The characters themselves were funny and I really did like how Lori didn’t essentially have a problem with Ted himself, just Ted inadvertently stopping John from growing up. Ted himself is hilarious and I think he was a solid example of how a live teddy bear would handle his particular problems, such as his owner growing up. The support staff were good too as Joel McHale played a great jerkwad and Giovanni Ribisi simply creeped me out to no end.
I’ve always been a fan of MacFarlane’s cartoons, even though I sometimes get annoyed when Family Guy goes too far or has a joke that just goes on for so long it becomes awkward. I was glad to see that he could convert his television writing/creating experience to the big screen and deliver a successful comedy. Ted ended up being a very solid comedy that is definitely a must-see if you like MacFarlane’s TV shows.
And for the record, American Dad > Family Guy!!!