Friday, January 18, 2013


Directed by Seth MacFarlane.
2012. Rated R, 106 minutes.
Mark Wahlberg
Seth MacFarlane
Mila Kunis
Joel McHale
Giovanni Ribisi
Aedin Mincks
Patrick Warburton
Matt Walsh
Jessica Barth
Bill Smitrovich
Sam J. Jones
Norah Jones
Tom Skerritt
Ryan Reynolds

As a boy, John (Wahlberg) doesn’t have any friends. He is so unpopular even the kids who get beat up all the time don’t want to hang out with him. Desperately needing companionship, John wishes that his teddy bear would come to life so they could be best friends forever. Since it is Christmas, John’s wish comes true. The bear, named Ted (MacFarlane) of course, becomes a celebrity but never forsakes his pal. Fast forward twenty-five years or so. Ted is no longer a celeb but is still bestest buds with John. On the other hand, John is trying to maintain a meaningful relationship with girlfriend Lori (Kunis). Unfortunately, hanging out with Ted keeps getting in the way. Teddy bear profanity, drug use, drinking and sex ensues.

Let’s not beat around the bush. The draw of this movie is the novelty watching a stuffed animal do raunchy stuff. Luckily, much of it is rather hilarious. Just as good, it fits neatly into bromance vs. romance motif it sets up. The tugging on John from both directions sets up both the humor and emotion of the movie. The humor is certainly of the no-holds barred variety. Though every joke doesn’t hit its mark, many do. For this, much credit is due to director/star Seth MacFarlane rechanneling his Peter Griffith voice into the bear. His delivery is perfect throughout and he even references the Griffith character. By the way, this movie includes possibly the funniest fight scene of all time.

The emotion of Ted is pretty standard rom-com fare, but it works better than similar material in other movies. Kunis is sufficiently upset with her man for not being all he can be. She expresses disappointment and delivers ultimatums with the proper zest. Wahlberg’s man-child act wonderfully pulls both sides of the story together. He plays the role with a likeable naiveté that makes him a sympathetic figure. We feel he really wants to do the right thing. Sometimes, he just can’t. Other times, he’s not even sure what the right thing is. In several similar movies and roles, Seth Rogen endows his characters with harsh sarcasm, vocal selfishness and aloofness that works against the films because he seems hard to like for females in the audience. Wahlberg has no such issue. He wants to please them. He just seems weak as opposed to Rogen’s stubbornness. Of course, it helps that the popular opinion is that Wahlberg’s much easier on the eyes.

Where Ted falters is a third act that fails us twice. First, it integrates a kidnapping that feels artificial to the story. It doesn’t wreck the movie and has some laughs of its own, mostly from a fantastic performance by the creepily funny Giovanni Ribisi. Still, it feels like it’s there to inject an action scene where it isn’t needed. Second, when the credits roll nothing has been resolved. It’s meant to be a touching finale. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help thinking that everyone involved is back to square one.

See Ted for the toilet humor, or what doesn’t get into the toilet in one case. Somehow, through all the expletives and general crassness this movie achieves a level of cuteness that doesn’t seem possible. Don’t see it if you’re easily offended or actually looking for any sort of depth. The fact that the bear talks is about as deep as it gets.

MY SCORE: 7/10

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