Seth MacFarlane makes his crossover to the big screen via Ted and he actually replicated his success in TV with the big box office success of the movie. While the traces of his adult animation humor are still very visible in Ted, MacFarlane mixes things up with a solid story about growing up.
When John (Mark Wahlberg) was 8 years old he wished that the teddy bear he got for Christmas, Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), could come to life and become his real life best friend. The next day his wish came true and Ted became a celebrity afterwards. But as years passed, Ted’s popularity waned but he never left John’s side and they soon lived together with John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis). However, Lori believes that John will never grow up as long as Ted is still part of his life.
Ted’s humor is pretty much like MacFarlane’s Family Guy and if that brand of comedy makes you laugh then you will have a great time seeing a talking teddy bear with his foul mouth and dirty deeds. Most of the laugh out loud moments of the movie involves Ted whether he is beating up a grown man, smoking pot and getting wasted on a party. Even Ted’s short one-liners referencing a lot of pop culture moments and personalities knocks it out of the park. I think the movie could still be funny without being crass but it’s a formula that works.
But underneath the dirty jokes and set pieces,Ted also tells a strong story of how some men are still trapped in a prolonged childhood and refuses to grow up. In its own absurd way, the movie made a strong foundation on why Ted and John’s friendship help and hurt them. Ted, the teddy bear, could be a representation of the things that grown up men hold on to that’s why they can’t fully embrace adulthood. However, the movie does not resolve that part of the story well as it chooses to end it on a more convenient but accessible way.
The technical work on Ted is marvelous and the details are spot on. The flawless animation on Ted made the character felt like a real actor and not just a special effect. MacFarlane’s voice work complements Ted but he does not do that much to differentiate it from his other “voices” in his animated programs. Wahlberg is perfect for this role and his chemistry with Ted is terrific. Kunis is relegated to a stock character but the actress oozes charm to make it more than just “the girlfriend”. Giovanni Ribicci’s role could have use more time to make for a credible villain while Joel McHale’s douche boss of Lori does not add anything to the story at all and could be easily cut from the story and McHale hams it up.
This is Seth MacFarlane’s first major attempt to tell a story outside the 22-minute runtime of his successful projects and Ted makes a strong case of what he could deliver in this medium. Ted is a crazy concept but thanks to its playful wit and surprisingly sweet heart it manages to shine.
Rating: 8/ 10