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Review: Ted

Jun. 28, 2012by: Chris Bumbray

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.
Source: JoBlo.com

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8:09PM on 07/04/2012

Hilarious

I dont think I've laughed that hard during a movie in YEARS! Non-stop laughs from beginning to end. I completely dug all of the 80s references. For me, a solid 9/10. I actually cant wait to see the movie again.
I dont think I've laughed that hard during a movie in YEARS! Non-stop laughs from beginning to end. I completely dug all of the 80s references. For me, a solid 9/10. I actually cant wait to see the movie again.
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1:52PM on 06/28/2012
I don't think I would consider the scenes that seem to go on too long as a sign of his inexperience behind the camera as director. This is a problem that existed in his television series as well, which indicates it is a problem inherent in his style. There are so many moments on Family Guy where a joke feels like it would never end, as if he needed to fill the time and did not have enough material. Of course, at his worst, he actually fills the time with full-length music videos, which serve
I don't think I would consider the scenes that seem to go on too long as a sign of his inexperience behind the camera as director. This is a problem that existed in his television series as well, which indicates it is a problem inherent in his style. There are so many moments on Family Guy where a joke feels like it would never end, as if he needed to fill the time and did not have enough material. Of course, at his worst, he actually fills the time with full-length music videos, which serve no purpose at all. Seth MacFarlane is so hit-or-miss with his comedy. Some shows rely on quality humor to make us laugh; MacFarlane and his writer's seem to depend on quantity: throw a bunch of jokes at the wall and see what sticks. I think the ratio of joke attempts to actual laughs is really poor, but when he throws so many jokes at you (groan-inducing at times), he might get enough laughs to be on par with other comedies. However, I prefer comedies that have fewer jokes and are able to make the most out of them. Think about it in sports terms (football): MacFarlane is like a quarterback that throws a lot of passes and completes maybe half of them. He may have more yards or completions than a quarterback with fewer passes, but if the quarterback with fewer passes completes most of them, he is less accurate.. It's like comparing Aaron Rodgers stats to Drew Brees last season: Brees benefitted from far more attempts than Rodgers.

Sorry for the essay. One last point on MacFarlane: he tends to be very episodic with his stories, so it doesn't surprise me that the last 20 minutes are not true to the rest of the film. I think he has many shortcomings as a storyteller as well, starting one place in his shows and ending somewhere else. The best example of this was the awful "Bird Is The Word" episode (that wasn't its title, but I don't want to look it up) it started with the same lame song repeated over and over again, and then somehow became a story about Jesus working in a record store and the attempt to publicize him. There are other examples as well, but I am not surprised that Ted would end on a lame joke premise that misses the mark. It's what Seth MacFarlane does: sacrificing story for hit-or-miss jokes.
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12:20PM on 06/28/2012
100% agree with your review, definitely a 7/10 for me as well. The 3rd act REALLY doesn't do the pretty hilarious first 2/3rds justice....as for the tidbit....yeah, it definitely helped, but not enough to make the last 20 minutes seem any less out of place.
100% agree with your review, definitely a 7/10 for me as well. The 3rd act REALLY doesn't do the pretty hilarious first 2/3rds justice....as for the tidbit....yeah, it definitely helped, but not enough to make the last 20 minutes seem any less out of place.
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11:15AM on 06/28/2012
While I am a fan of Family Guy & of course Mila Kunis (who is beyond hot), I had a feeling many of the trademarks from the show would be incorporated into this movie. The long winded jokes & constant pop culture references work fine in a 30 minute animated series but not a full length film. Also from your review I gather that all of the best scenes have been in the trailers. Good review though & who knows it took me awhile to get into Family Guy, maybe this film will have the same effect.
While I am a fan of Family Guy & of course Mila Kunis (who is beyond hot), I had a feeling many of the trademarks from the show would be incorporated into this movie. The long winded jokes & constant pop culture references work fine in a 30 minute animated series but not a full length film. Also from your review I gather that all of the best scenes have been in the trailers. Good review though & who knows it took me awhile to get into Family Guy, maybe this film will have the same effect.
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+7
11:03AM on 06/28/2012
As long as there are no "singing bits" (God I hate the "musical side" of MacFarlane) I am in!
As long as there are no "singing bits" (God I hate the "musical side" of MacFarlane) I am in!
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12:25PM on 07/02/2012
There are singing bits. And the musical side of McFarland is awesome.
There are singing bits. And the musical side of McFarland is awesome.
8:26AM on 06/28/2012
I usually don't give much for 7/10 but with casts like Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, I'm definitely going to check this out.
I usually don't give much for 7/10 but with casts like Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, I'm definitely going to check this out.
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7:45AM on 06/28/2012

Very Serious Question

I hate "Family Guy"; I really don't understand the appeal of that show. There's maybe one in ever 15-20 episodes I can sit through and not hate, but overall, it's very much not my thing. With that, any movie I see, I do try to give it a fair chance, however, is this so much like "Family Guy" that a non-fan like me would be turned off?
I hate "Family Guy"; I really don't understand the appeal of that show. There's maybe one in ever 15-20 episodes I can sit through and not hate, but overall, it's very much not my thing. With that, any movie I see, I do try to give it a fair chance, however, is this so much like "Family Guy" that a non-fan like me would be turned off?
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3:57AM on 06/28/2012
Can't wait.
Can't wait.
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3:52AM on 06/28/2012
WOOHOO!!!! I'm there Friday
WOOHOO!!!! I'm there Friday
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-1
3:18AM on 06/28/2012
I like how committed Walberg seems to be but I really don't think I can sit through 100 minutes of Seth Macfarlane.
I like how committed Walberg seems to be but I really don't think I can sit through 100 minutes of Seth Macfarlane.
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2:40AM on 06/28/2012
Glad to hear that this fared well with you (as well as JoBlo), as a former obsessive fan of Family Guy. I really dislike a lot of the directions the series has taken, but I was cautiously hoping for the best with this. I don't think it will be a trip to the theater for me, but I'll catch it on DVD with a tad more optimism than I had before reading this article.
Glad to hear that this fared well with you (as well as JoBlo), as a former obsessive fan of Family Guy. I really dislike a lot of the directions the series has taken, but I was cautiously hoping for the best with this. I don't think it will be a trip to the theater for me, but I'll catch it on DVD with a tad more optimism than I had before reading this article.
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+7
1:50AM on 06/28/2012

Ted = good stuff

Nice! I wholeheartedly agree with your review, even the part about Act 3 not being the best one. I guess they kind of had to come up with some sort of plot device at that point, but it didn't work too well for me either. Love the CGI-doll though, and many jokes were hee-larious. There's also quite a few tugs at the heartstrings, so the chicks may like it as well (but yeah, it's mostly for boys, I would think...and Family Guy fans!). I'd also give it a 7/10 but look forward to watching it again
Nice! I wholeheartedly agree with your review, even the part about Act 3 not being the best one. I guess they kind of had to come up with some sort of plot device at that point, but it didn't work too well for me either. Love the CGI-doll though, and many jokes were hee-larious. There's also quite a few tugs at the heartstrings, so the chicks may like it as well (but yeah, it's mostly for boys, I would think...and Family Guy fans!). I'd also give it a 7/10 but look forward to watching it again on DVD for the (must-be) awesome deleted scenes. I might also drop some weed into the game at that point. Good times. Hope it makes enough money for a sequel. PS: McFarlane must have come up with this idea after Spielberg's A.I.
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