Wednesday, 15 August 2012

REVIEW: Ted

Seth MacFarlane, the funny man behind Family Guy has brought us comedy gold in the shape of a talking dog, a highly intelligent psychopathic baby, a sex-mad pilot, racist bickering news readers and possibly the world's stupidest man in Peter Griffin. Here, he's at it again with another addition to his comedic repertoire with Ted, a  foul-mouthed, dope-smoking, Flash-loving, witty teddy bear. Ted wasn't always like this though.

Ted starts with John, a young Boston boy who is so excluded from childhood fun, when he tries to join in some snow-cramming bullying, he's even told to get lost by the helpless victim. Tired of his lonely existence, he prays to the stars that his new teddy bear will come to life; his wish is granted. Here we meet a softly spoken childish teddy, and soon the two become inseparable. In keeping within a certain reality, we then have the montage of TV interviews, magazine covers etc, making Ted an international star, yet he always returns to the loving embrace of his friend John.

Where MacFarlane has really raised the bar, is by not really focussing on the childhood magic, but instead cutting 25 years later and having John, now a 35 year old quipping Boston everyman still living with his now grown-up teddy, Ted. They smoke bongs, discuss sex, watch movies, party like it was the eighties, and more focally, continually let down John's long-suffering girl Lori (Mila Kunis). Alongside the spotlight on John and Lori's relationship, we also have a side plot which sees a freaky father and son (Giovanni Ribisi is a scene-stealer) try and obtain the talking Ted by any means necessary. 

Ted is a symbol of that childish element John refuses to let go of, and like many other movies before it, the protagonist must realise that he needs to grow-up, take some responsibility, and marry the girl. It's a basic premise so expertly executed by MacFarlane and team, that it avoid the cliches and goo so prevalent in chick flicks. Ted is most definitely a guy flick, but girls will love it too. Like The Hangover, Bridesmaids and Anchorman, it transcends the sex  boundary and will be loved by men and women alike. 

As per usual with MacFarlane, there are some lines a little close to the bone (even 9/11 gets a mention) but it's so in keeping with Ted's politically incorrect (or should that be politically appalling...) outlook on life, that I was actually stifling laughter at some of the more sensitive jokes, worried that I'd be the only outburst in the cinema (I wasn't) - it just doesn't seem as bad when said by a cartoon or CGI creation!! This outrageousness is flanked by Wahlberg and Kunis, both more grounded individuals, and the three shine when they share scenes together (the 'brewski' banter about beer is great), and fortunately for us, Kunis always manages to just stay this side of annoying even if her character could be otherwise. 

The effects used to create Ted are quite brilliant, and MacFarlane said that the film only came into play after James Cameron had Avatar under his belt and the technology he used became readily available. Quite amazing to think that Ted needed Avatar, but I'm not sure if MacFarlane said that in jest or not - apparently not. 

Funny, outrageous, and with some truly side-splitting moments (Ted's interview and subsequent meetings with his boss are hilarious) including a kick-ass cameo from Flash himself, Sam Jones, and some awesome eighties dancing from Ribisi, Ted has to be the comedy of the year. 



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