Ted (movie review)
I remember when I used to like Family Guy… way back when it was staffed with writers trying to produce quality jokes rather than just trying to shock me. But, it’s impossible to talk about Ted without talking about Family Guy – particularly since they both have similar problems.
Seth Macfarlane is the voice of Ted, a teddy bear that comes to life after a friendless boy (Mark Wahlberg) makes a wish. Book-ended with narration by Patrick Stewart (which is funny, but kinda useless), we catch up with the pair of best friends all grown up – at least they’re over 30 now. Wahlberg’s girlfriend (Mila Kunis) is desperate for Wahlberg to move on with his life, get the promotion at work that’s his for the taking and move in with her and not waste hours upon hours smoking weed and getting into trouble with Ted. Hilarity and conflict ensues… sorta.
(Yeah, I can’t remember any of the character’s names except for Ted. The characters are that memorable. And they could be played by any actors… it doesn’t matter. Anyone that’s somewhat likable will do in this situation.)
All the familiar Seth MacFarlane tropes
Because comedy on Family Guy went the way of the dinosaur many, many years ago, I had low expectations for Ted, but the movie was at least able to hold my attention, despite it’s problems. Ted the film is essentially an out of control episode of Family Guy in the same way that Ted the character is an out of control Peter Griffin, right down to the voice, as I guess MacFarlane just couldn’t be bothered to come up with an original idea after the teddy bear coming to life concept was flushed out of him. The movie is full of the usual MacFarlane pop culture references from the 80s, but in an effort to tie a narrative together, it leans hard on Flash Gordon, which lends itself into yet another MacFarlane trope often seen on Family Guy, that being the washed up celebrity cameo. Of course, there’s the usual gross out humor (which is fine when done well and not for shock value – and this movie rides that line very hard) and the creepy guy character, who also doubles as this movie’s villain but isn’t really tied into the plot in any way except that he shows up everyone and a while and behaves in a creepy manner and then, when it comes time for the climax of the film, he’s back again.
Essentially, Ted is an uninteresting story filled with uninteresting (everybody but Ted) or one note (Ted) characters that features occasional jokes that are not especially relevant to what’s happening in an individual scene or the film as a whole, but the jokes are funny enough on their own (even if the run them into the ground – like the teddy bear sex jokes). It’s not a bad movie and yet it’s certainly not memorable or anything special, but it did make me laugh a few times – unlike The Guilt Trip. If you want a cheap laugh and/or love Seth MacFarlane’s stuff, then I’d check it out, but otherwise, steer clear. I give Ted a 6 out of 10.