With his live-action directorial debut Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) utilizes the talking animal shtick once again with Ted, which features a talking teddy bear as its main protagonist. The premise is as ridiculous as it sounds, but thanks to the accomplished trio of MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, it is one of the more enjoyable comedies of the year. Having gone into this without having watched an episode of MacFarlane’s popular TV show, I found myself eager to see more of the director’s small-screen work.
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A hilarious voiceover narrative from Patrick Stewart brings us up to speed as we meet John, an unpopular kid who is desperately in need of a friend. His wish is soon granted when his teddy bear – appropriately christened Ted (voice of MacFarlane) – comes to life, and they promise to remain best buds forever. 20 years on and that’s a promise that John (Wahlberg) and his now sex-crazed, drug-addicted companion are still intent on keeping, to the great frustration of John’s girlfriend Lori (Kunis) who wants John to grow up and move on with his life. When Ted finally does move out, he attracts the attention of a creepy stalker (Giovanni Ribisi) and his son.
Right from the get-go there are many laughs to be had in Ted, with the absurd set-up making even the most mundane tasks seem amusing. The impressively lifelike bear is most often the perpetrator, spouting off dialogue that ranges from plain old funny to inappropriate and crude. Ted’s vulgar behaviour (and there is quite a bit of it) will probably turn off some moviegoers. However, there are enough fresh comedic gags and laugh out loud moments to enjoy, especially when a certain 80’s icon is involved.
Though its comedy is definitely its strongest aspect, there is also a healthy dose of character drama in Ted which works well thanks to the talented cast. There is nothing groundbreaking here, but nonetheless the bromance between John and Ted is very entertaining and never gets old. There is evidence of some smart writing at times and there are even some semi-sincere moments amidst all the gags. Meanwhile, Wahlberg and Kunis make for a likable couple, both flexing their comedic muscles effectively throughout.
“Any Last Words?” If you enjoy (or can tolerate) the crude aspects of MacFarlane’s teddy bear, then you’ll find there is a lot to love in this laugh out loud comedy.
Ted arrives in UK Cinemas TODAY. Check out the trailer below.