PLOT: John is a lonely boy whose stuffed teddy bear-Ted, comes to life thanks to a Christmas wish. Cut to twenty-five years later, John (Mark Wahlberg) is now a thirty-five year old slacker, who spends most of his time smoking weed, and watching FLASH GORDON over and over again with Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane)- much to the chagrin of his ever-patient girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis). Fed up, she gives him an ultimatum- her or the bear. Yeah, if it was anyone but Kunis I'd choose the bear, buuuuuutttt....
REVIEW: TED is FAMILY GUY (and AMERICAN DAD, and THE CLEVELAND SHOW) creator Seth MacFarlane's first stab at the big screen- not only voicing the title character, but also co-writing, producing, and directing the film himself. Pretty ambitious, especially considering that TED's a relatively CGI-heavy movie, thanks to the fact that they have to make a talking bear look believable. Somehow they manage...
For about 80% of TED, I was having an absolute blast. Anyone who knows their FAMILY GUY should know exactly what to expect here, and yes- TED does have all the hallmarks of that show, with all the jokes in hilariously bad taste (including a BRUTAL diss of former Superman Brandon Routh), loads of eighties pop culture references. Some of these fall flat, especially the FAMILY GUY-style cutaway that spoofs the disco dancing scene in AIRPLANE! (why spoof a spoof?). But, some of these are friggin' hilarious- especially if you happen to be a fan of the 1980, Queen-scored version of FLASH GORDON.
That's right folks, FLASH GORDON figures prominently into TED, not only with loads of Queen's awesome score popping up on the soundtrack, but even a glorious, extended cameo by Sam J. Jones himself- playing a coked-up, gone to seed version of himself. Now, if you haven't had the pleasure of seeing FLASH GORDON, you owe it to yourself to see it before checking out TED, as my buddy Phil, who hasn't yet had the pleasure, was a bit mystified at all the FLASH jokes, and couldn't figure out why I looked like I was about to pee my pants every time Jones showed up on-screen.
It's almost scary how MacFarlane seems to have tapped into the collective childhoods of mid-eighties born kids with this, as yeah- I had a very-TED like pal as a kid, but it was my ALF doll, which I slept with every night until I was about thirteen (yup, I'm THAT cool). I also had a half-crazed obsession with the James Bond film OCTOPUSSY growing up, and it looks like MacFarlane did too, with loads of shout-outs to that, the most-unappreciated of Bond films, with Mark Wahlberg even stopping to warble the film's theme song, 'All Time High'.
As the human side of the equation, Wahlberg seems truly game, and blends well with MacFarlane's brand of humour. Wahlberg really is a funny guy, and obviously doesn't take his image all that seriously- so he more than holds his own with the bear. As for Mila Kunis, considering she's a FAMILY GUY regular (Meg!), you can reasonably assume that she fits right in here, and she doesn't disappoint (and wow, she's gotten hawt!) Lots of other MacFarlane alum have bit parts, with Patrick Warbuton having a particularly funny bit, Alex Borstein, and even Patrick Stewart- being on-hand to deliver the tongue-in-cheek narration.
So yeah, for most of TED, I was heavy into it- to the point that I was able to overlook some of it's flaws. MacFarlane's relative inexperience behind the camera does hurt the film a bit, with some scenes going on far too-long (especially the romantic interludes which try to hard to bring sweetness to such a raunchy flick), and parts of the movie being really uneven. Still, this only really becomes an issue in the last twenty minutes or so, when a lame subplot involving Giovanni Ribisi trying to kidnap TED takes over. This whole aspect of the film seems extraneous, and brings TED grinding to a halt in the home-stretch. Here, MacFarlane seems to want us all to take TED a little too seriously, but alas, it's not a deal-breaker.
So, while I had a few problems here and there with TED, enough of it works that it's an easy recommendation- but if you happen to hate FAMILY GUY, than you ought to skip this. You either go for this kind of thing, or you don't. Let's face it, even at it's best, FAMILY GUY is a bit uneven, but when it's funny, it's f**king funny. TED, for the most part, is f**king funny.
|Extra Tidbit:||Some good weed would have easily bumped this up to an 8.|