A teddy bear who smokes pot, parties with hookers, screws pop stars and spews profanity- now we are talking!
Let me start by saying “Ted” is NOT for kids. This isn’t a story about the bear you dressed up and played tea party with as a little girl (or boy). In a prologue, narrated by Patrick Stewart, we quickly learn the story of John Bennett (as a kid), who one Christmas night wished that his new teddy bear Ted (voiced by MacFarlane himself) would come to life so they could be best friends forever. That night, Johns wish comes true, and wakes up to find a walking, talking Ted. Within weeks, Ted ends up on the cover of every major magazine instantly turning him into a 80s celebrity. Fast forward 25 years and you end up with a Macaulay Culkin situation. The “cute” child star bear has grown up, is addicted to drugs, sleeping with prostitutes, and doing nothing with his life. Meanwhile John (Mark Wahlberg) is working as an assistant manager at a car rental place and has no ambitions, no inspirations and no long term goals.
The movies main storyline is about Ted’s negative influence and how it’s putting John’s relationship with his one true love, Lori (Mila Kunis), in jeopardy. Throughout the movie John is constantly trying to please both Ted and Lori, but continues to disappoint them. John soon realizes he needs to make a choice: the girl or the bear. There is a subplot involving Lori’s boss (Joel McHale) and a creepy dad (Giovanni Ribisi) to kidnap the bear, but it wasn’t really needed, and the movie could have survived without it.
It’s hard for me to write a positive review, it’s not in my nature, but Ted has proved different. Sure, it isn’t going to win any awards for an original story structure, but the movie plays to its strengths. The jokes are fast and perfectly timed in classic MacFarlane fashion with intent on offending every minority group imaginable. Right away Ted starts tossing off observations so outlandishly filthy, that you instantly start laughing. The movie takes you out of your comfort zone with jokes about rape, cancer, racism and 9/11, it’s guaranteed to have you asking yourself – “did they just say that?” throughout. Each time you think MacFarlane has reached the limit of transgressions for a mainstream Hollywood movie, he serves up a scene like the one that finds Ted jacked-up on cocaine, performing karaoke to Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Only Wanna Be With You.”
Overall, the actors in the movie do a good job. MacFarlane’s voicing is great (sounds exactly like Peter Griffin), Kunis’s hot ass is lovely (but isn’t given nearly enough to do) and Wahlberg’s ability to have good comic timing opposite a non-existent co-star works well. He really makes you believe the toy is actually alive, and they somehow are able to sell the story and make you care about the characters. However, in the end, ‘Ted’ is all about the bear.
If you are looking for laugh, definitely check it out. I give “Ted” a 8/10.
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“Ted,” is rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug use. Running time: 105 minutes. In theatres everywhere June 29, 2012.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Universal Pictures