Film Review : Ted
● By Justin Buettner
John Bennet is the unpopular kid of his neighborhood. On Christmas he receives a stuffed bear and makes a wish that it was a real friend. His wish is answered and Ted is born. Flash forward 27 years and thirty five year old John and Ted the teddy bear are still best buddies, although both are stuck in a perpetual state of high school adolescence. John’s new girlfriend Lori tells John that Ted needs to move out for him to finally grow up, but can John ever really let go of his teddy bear?
This is hands down the funniest movie of the year to date. Seth MacFarlane, the writer and director, is best known for creating Fox’s the Family Guy. His brand of humor is on fine display in Ted, but unlike the Family Guy’s lose plot and storytelling style, this movie has a strong emotional core which makes the laughs bigger and the emotional payoff more satisfying. Like last year’s film the Bridesmaids, Ted is an expertly crafted R-rated comedy that uses its R-rating in all the right ways.
Although Ted the teddy bear, voiced by Seth MacFarlane, gets most of the best laughs, its Mark Wahlberg’s performance that really sets the movie apart. It was just a few years ago I thought Mark Wahlberg should never return to comedy after a bad performance in The Other Guys, I just didn’t think he demonstrated good comic timing. In Ted, he hits all the right notes. His ability to sell the relationship with his best friend teddy bear in a very convincing manner is the main reason this movie works. Wahllberg’s work in this film is one of the best performances of the year.
Seth MacFarlane doesn’t miss an opportunity to insert jokes in the movie, however it’s his attention to character that makes it all work. From the first scene with John and Ted there is little doubt that their relationship is authentic. They sound, act, and react just like brothers. In addition John’s girlfriend Lori played by Mila Kunis is written very well. She does not come across as a stock character, but rather she feels real. There is a big heart at the center of Ted and because of this all the crass jokes have a good nature about them where they could easily have been in bad taste if this material was in the wrong hands.
Ted leaves little question that Seth MacFarlane has uncanny comic skills as both a performer, writer, and a director. Very few, if any, jokes fell flat in Ted, and that is quite a feat. From the opening scene to the last Ted had the audience laughing while using an entire assortment of comedic antics. I worried that the movie would be a one note joke of ‘look at the swearing pot smoking bear’. Fortunately I did not need to have such worries as the movie employs a variety of different comedy styles and it doesn’t rely solely on gross out humor to entertain.
I think it is safe to say Seth Macfarlane has a big future in feature comedy if he wants it. I hope he decides to step away from Family Guy and follow a career in feature films. It’s not often that skilled comedy writer/directors come along as I still feel comedy is much harder to get right than drama. If you need a good laugh and are not easily offended by swearing or crass humor Ted is the perfect comedy.
Films like Ted : Dumb and Dumber, Bad Santa, and Bridesmaids
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.