Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ted - Movie Review

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh, Jessica Barth, Bill Smitrovich, Laura Vandervoot and the voice of Patrick Stewart. Directed by Seth MacFarlane.


From the creator of Family Guy comes this movie... that feels a lot like an episode of Family Guy.

For those not familiar with Seth MacFarlane TV shows, they feature a family, and there will be a plot, and then someone will make a pop-culture reference, and then we'll see that reference played out for a few seconds.  Someone could say "I haven't felt this uncomfortable since Paris Hilton appeared on Inside the Actor's Studio" and then you'll see ten seconds of just that, like we've popped in the middle of a skit, and then it'll go back to our regular story.

Ted does that a couple times.

This is about John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his teddy bear (MacFarlane).  Ted magically came to life in 1985, and John and Ted have been best friends ever since.  I like that the movie acknowledges that Ted had brief fame in the 1980's do to his whole magical-talking-teddy-bear existence, but then like Corey Feldman, he grew up and his fame vanished.

John and Ted now hang out and smoke pot and live in arrested adolescense.  John works a terrible job at a car-rental service; Ted freeloads.  Living with them is Lori (Mila Kunis), John's girlfriend of four years who is fine with Ted, but after coming home to Ted and four hookers, she decides maybe it's time for Ted to move out.

Since the movie is substance-free, it lives or dies on how funny it is.  Well, some of it is, and some of it isn't.  Once the initial shock-laughs wear off of a pot-smoking teddy bear, where do you go?  I don't find pot humor that funny, maybe because I've seen most of Judd Apatow's movies, or maybe because I don't smoke pot, and you apparently need to in order to find all of it funny.  But it made me think: Ted's full of fluff.  Why would smoking pot affect him?  Why does he eat and drink?  How does Ted have sex since he's anatomically... a regular toy teddy-bear?

There are some funny cameos, and the entire Flash Gordon subplot is well-done.  Wahlberg's good at comedy, lest we forget his work in The Other Guys and Date Night, and Kunis is game, even if too much of her role is patiently waiting for John to grow up.  The CGI on Ted is flawless.  I just thought its joke-to-laugh ratio wasn't that high. (See what I did there?)

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