Friday, July 6, 2012


Ted - ****

Directed by: Seth McFarlane

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth McFarlane (voice), Patrick Warburton

Review: ‘Ted’ is exactly what you would expect and probably exactly what you’re looking for if you bought a ticket.  Most people who are going to see this film are probably already fans of Seth McFarlane and his ‘Family Guy’ brand of humor, and they will get more of that here.  The film doesn’t cut to flashbacks to portray its gags, but the same ADD-type, quick-fire jokes apply.

The story is set in Boston where McFarlane knows the personality of the area and the people all too well.  Or at least he pretends to.  The story centers around John (Wahlberg), a little boy who doesn’t have friends and wishes his teddy bear would come to life and be his buddy.  His wish is granted, “Ted” is born, and goes on to become world famous as a living and talking stuffed animal.

But just as it does for the rest of us, time passed and Ted was no longer the famous guest on Johnny Carson.  The world got older and moved on from that fascination.  Instead of trying to use his fame for any sort of productivity in life, Ted decided to become a pot smoking lush and took his friend John with him.

Somehow, John was able to maintain a relationship with a beautiful woman named Lori (Kunis).  Despite the fact that his best friend was a pot smoking, beer drinking, living stuff animal, John has been able to maintain his relationship with Lori for four years now.  Although, he hasn’t asked her to marry him, and seemingly hasn’t thought much about it.  He likes the way his life is and sees no reason to make a drastic change.

Eventually, we get treated to the little bit of predictability in this movie.  Lori gives John an ultimatum.  Either Ted goes, or she goes.  John chooses her and forces Ted to move out.  After all, they’re still going to hang out, like, all the time.

It’s never any fun to look for real deep meaning in comedies.  The majority of the time they are just scenarios somebody thought was funny put down on paper and acted out.  I am completely OK with this.  But like so many things, often what happens in comedies is based in some form of reality or universal concept.

In this case it’s the constant struggle we have with growing up but also still maintaining our best childlike qualities.  Ted does a better job than just about any other movie of this type with how it handles the Ted character.  As the surrogate “best friend” he is not hated by the girlfriend.  He’s not the constant center of negative feelings.

To Lori, Ted represents a lot of what she likes about John.  He is funny, he is kind, and he still maintains that youthfulness that often eludes many of us as we trudge forward into adulthood.  Yet, as many of us come to understand, while youthfulness can be an asset, it’s also a hindrance to becoming a true adult.  

If there is an ultimate subtext to ‘Ted,’ this is where it lies.  The character of Ted is the embodiment of everything we love about being a child.  No responsibility, everything’s a joke, life is fun and full of hope.  It’s not until we become adults and get stuck working a 40-hour a week job making $38K (as Ted’s boss is making) that we realize life isn’t the same as when we were children.

Being able to toe that line between childhood and adulthood is one of the steps along the road to maturity.  Truth be told, both need to live in harmony.  Ted is an expression of what we wish we could do with our childhood.  We wish we could put it in a box and take it out when we want it, but have it go live on its own when we don’t.  It shouldn’t drag us down, but it shouldn’t die either.  Our childhood is part of who we are and should be embraced as such.

With some better-than-expected performances, a couple good surprises, and a lot of laughs ‘Ted’ is a movie that is definitely worth your time.

1 comment:

  1. Surprised by how much I laughed my pants off during this because I’m not a huge fan of Family Guy, but somehow, a lot of the humor just clicked for me. MacFarlane is definitely a director to watch when it comes to making R-rated comedies. Nice review Jeff.