Fox once saw so much potential in Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy. But when no one wanted to watch it, Fox pulled the trigger on it and canceled it in 2001. Then a few years later it was released on DVD and the hardcore fans of the show (like me) bought it and finally had a way to show people what they missed. The DVD sales were so high for that show that Fox reconsidered its decision to end the show, brought it back and it's been a money-grab ever since. It took no one seeing it for everyone to love it. Sadly, I think that's the same fate in store for Ted.
A movie about a little boy who wishes that his favorite teddy bear comes alive and remains his best friend forever is the stuff of the worst kind of children's movies. It's the kind of plot that is literally the kind of thing you laugh out loud at and then feel bad for Eddie Murphy for starring in it. But when you mention that it's all from the mind of Seth MacFarlane and it's an R-rated comedy, most people couldn't be back on board faster.
Not only is it painfully obvious from the opening minutes that this is from the mind of the man who made Family Guy, it keeps that same playful, offensive, random tone through the whole film. If you love the bizarre flashbacks and fantasy scenes that play out in the show, then Ted won't let you down. It's actually a ton more impressive to me that they did still do that considering how much more expensive it is to pull it off with live action. And don't think for a second that because this is MacFarlane's first feature film that he kept the references somewhat grounded in popular culture; a bulk of the film centers around Ted and his human bestie, John's, obsession with the 1980 cinematic so-bad-it's-good turd Flash Gordon. My wife didn't understand a single reference to the film but enjoyed it all the same.
Mark Wahlberg stars as John, a guy who is letting his friendship with Ted come between him and his adulthood and relationship with Mila Kunis. Wahlberg is a fine actor and able to pull of comedy quite well, but don't expect a lot from any of the humans in the film. The only actual person that provides enough funny to be note-worthy is Giovanni Ribsi (Avatar, Cold Mountain) who relishes playing creepy, slimey characters and does it so well even in a comedy like this.
The real star of this film is MacFarlane's script. The laughs come one-after-another and don't stop and get relentless at times. You can tell that he is steeped in television expierence where you have to cram as much as you can into 22-minutes. Here he has two hours to fill but makes you exhausted with how fast the comedy comes at you. Unfortunately the plot is nothing new and nothing original. The story is predictable and removed of any soul or emotion (despite what Kunis said in an interview you can hear below). Because of that, the film offers cheap, cringe-worthy jokes and nothing more...but let's cut the crap, that's all you're looking for and really all you want. Ted (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: B+