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Ted


The most recent TED talk covers the touching tale of a young boy’s wish to make his teddy bear a real friend and the pair live happily ever after… Wait, that might be wrong. Oh, right. Ted is a film still about that boy, but it would definitely be out-of-place amongst TED talks.

Grade:

As mentioned, John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) has a best friend named Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), who is a teddy bear. As John and Ted’s relationship matures—this being a relative term—his relationship with his girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis), begins to falter. John must decide between his uber-hot, successful, easy-going girlfriend and a teddy bear he smokes pot with. Some people have the toughest decisions…

The thing that I find most frustrating about Ted has very little to do with the film itself. Reviewers, fans and movie-goers alike have bemoaned the crude, tactless humor of Seth MacFarlane’s foray into full-length features. To that I say, “Get off your damn pedestal.”

If you go into Ted expecting some high-brow humor and deep, satirical insight, you are setting the film up to fail (and also incurably ignorant). The trailer was honest about the film’s humor. MacFarlane was, and always has been, honest about it. So complaining about the humor of a movie with a foul-mouthed teddy bear is the most idiotic of complaints.

Ok, rant over. I am the target audience for Ted—early twenties fan of Family Guy—so the fact that I found it extremely funny is not surprising. MacFarlane is a self-serving, egotistical, Bahston-loving jackass, but damnit that guy makes me laugh. Ted comes through with everything you’d expect: foul language, absurd comments, sexually explicit humor and pop culture references galore (more on this later).

Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis make an odd couple, in my mind, but they clearly had fun working together since they at least pull off “good friends”. Wahlberg is initially annoying because he lays on the accent hardcore, but it levels out as the film progresses. He does well to interact with whatever they inserted to act as Ted during the filming. MacFarlane provides a solid voice for the role and even pokes fun at himself (“Hey, I don’t sound that much like Peter Griffin.” –Ted).

With a film like Ted, improvisation was clearly the driving force behind much of the humor. While films like Wanderlust left nothing on the editing floor, Ted does an excellent job limiting the jokes to only the best (or top three, whatever) for the situation. Obviously, not all of the jokes land successfully, but for a film so engorged with raunchy humor, a surprising amount kill. This is not to say there weren’t some epic failures though.

If you’ve watched Family Guy, you know MacFarlane has an almost sadistic tendency to directly insult celebrities. Ted follows suit with direct shots at Katy Perry and Brandon Routh, to name a few. The former is an off-hand comment, but the latter is at the very end of the film and leaves you with a bad final impression, so not all of the joke choices were good. There is also a never-ending reference to Flash Gordon that just will not die. MacFarlane clearly loved it as a child for the fact that the film was so bad, but it’s not a relevant reference anymore and shouldn’t have been brought up over four times.

Finally, Giovanni Ribisi. He’s a weird guy; there’s no denying that. He chooses weird roles and I get the sense everyone in Ted was uneasy around him, especially during the Tiffany scene. As Ted’s stalker/fan, Ribisi adds an unnecessary antagonist to the film. It’s weird, but luckily only a small portion of the film.

Ted is a film that is great for audience gauging. You know what type of audience you’re with in the first five minutes as you can sense whether they’ll laugh or shrug with disgust. I implore you to recognize your own sense of humor before viewing Ted. If you don’t like crude humor, don’t see it! If you’re like me, you’ll probably end up laughing a lot more than anticipated.

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  1. I was worried that it would just be like watching a horrible Family Guy episode for ~90 minutes but I laughed my ass off too.

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