Everyone in the Nineties Sang With a Vowel at the End of Everything

Ted (2012)
A Review by Ben Hunter
2½ Out 5 Stars
June 29, 2012

After fighting the system, paying his dues and perfecting his craft with the numerous television sitcom episodes he’s filled our hearts with laughter week after week, and FINALLY earning his feature film directorial debut, Seth MacFarlane gives us … a talking teddy bear named Ted.  He’s vulgar, he smokes, he drinks, is one of the guys, and can hang with the best of them.  Voiced by MacFarlane himself, Ted gives us a look into the meaning of true friendship, and taking responsibility for your life while growing up … well at least it tries to.  

All based on little Johnny’s wish one night, Johnny (Mark Wahlberg) becomes best friends with Ted and the two remain best friends as the two grow up together and Johnny is now 35 where our story takes off.  Ted stays the same physical proportion, but his voice changes.  Johnny starts to date Lori (Mila Kunis) who after 4 years wants Johnny to stop acting like an immature little boy and take charge in the relationship, feeling that his friendship with Ted is a hindrance to his relationship with Lori.  So it’s time for Johnny to take responsibility for his life and grow up. 

Silly, silly, silly!!  For lack of a better word and keeping myself professional.  With every TV spot, full length trailer, or just every time I drive past that silly looking bus stop poster I keep saying just that, THIS IS TOO SILLY!!! 

I’ve learned over the years to remember why it is we go to the movies in the first place, to kick back and just enjoy the entertainment because that’s what it is, entertainment.  So just have fun.  That was my mindset walking into this film, but it was hard to forgive the stupidity and just enjoy the story.  Everyone has a line that they draw, and good writing should conquer all silliness.  

The film had an amateurish feeling to it at times.  Some jokes were meant to hit the audience really hard and MacFarlane wanted to be sure we got the punch line before he cut to the next scene.  So there were frequent moments of just holding onto the end of the scene in dead air and not properly done spoof like comedy, which is what I’m sure, the intent was.  I kept thinking to myself “Stop asking me if I understood the joke!” 

I think this film would connect more with audiences and properly kick start Seth MacFarlane from TV to film if it were clearly defined as to what this film is.  It came off as a raunchy, spoof comedy; which sounds fine because the two sound like they go hand in hand.  But take any successful film from one of the two and it’s clear that the film stuck to what it originally and truly is, and just has some added effects from another genre.  Tropic Thunder is probably the best spoof comedy I’ve seen in a long time, that’s clearly a spoof/purposely-exaggerated comedy that just has some raunchiness within it.  It’s not torn between the two.  If Ted were a raunchy comedy with some exaggerated moments, it would’ve settled with me and those alike a lot better.  Which is what I think MacFarlane and his Fuzzy Door production people were going for.  So that’s just the writing then that needed tightening to make sure the proper intent is being relayed to the audience. 

But the film has its comedic moments; some of it being recycled Family Guy humor (Seth MacFarlane’s most known sitcom and claim to fame).  I mean Ted really is just a revamped Peter Griffin (the lead character of Family Guy).  Mila Kunis is always nice to look at, and I feel she’s really coming into her own as a talented actress. 

It’s funny, so people like to turn their brain off and laugh at the stupidity, regardless of where the level of quality may be, so the movie makes money, bottom line.  Nonetheless, what are we spending our money on?  There’s a beautiful short film on Youtube starring Kevin Spacey, about his inner battles brought to the surface through his ventriloquist dummy.  It’s a classier, artsy version of Ted. Whereas it felt like Ted used up all of its best moments in the trailers.  I wanted that classic Family Guy humor that had me and my college roommates literally on the floor laughing!

But raunchy bathroom humor goes a long way, which I’m okay with.  I just want quality in what I experience.  Regardless if I turn my brain on and evaluate everything because it’s going for the Oscar or turn it off because I don’t want to think about anything and just have some fun. 

Give me quality regardless!

Comedy, 106 Minutes, R
Written by: Seth MacFarlane and Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild
Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane

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