by Joshua Handler
2012, 106 mintues
Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
If there was ever a movie that was not supposed to be good as good as it is, this was the one. But, alas, it was quite good and really funny. Ted marks the feature film debut of Seth MacFarlane, best known for his hit television show, "Family Guy". It is about a boy who wishes that his teddy bear would come to life. The next morning, the bear is alive, and thirty years later, he is a pot-smoking, foul-mouthed, womanizer. The boy grows up to be a man who is played by Mark Wahlberg.
The jokes in this movie are very hit-or-miss, but the hits far outnumber the misses. There is something in this movie to offend just about everyone. There are jokes about religion, ethnic/cultural background, body weight, mental disabilities, and everything in between. Also, a lot of the jokes revolve around pop culture references from everywhere from the '80s to the present. If you are offended by this kind of humor or crude sexual humor, stay far away. If you can laugh at it, as I can, go.
The pop culture references are hysterical. Many will go over the heads of those too young or unfamiliar with the eras that are referenced, but those that do get the jokes will laugh. The humor style is in-your-face and relentless, just as "Family Guy" is, and that is the reason why I truly enjoyed what MacFarlane presented here.
Though many of the jokes may be crude and nasty, there is a substantial amount of heart put in this film. This story seemed to be very close to MacFarlane's heart and in the end, he really seems to care for his characters. He wants to show that some people are really kids at heart, and that is just fine as long as you can balance it with having a productive adult life too. This story is, at the core, the story of a man who learns to grow up, albeit at a much older age. It will connect to the teenager inside everyone.
The cast is universally great and are really good sports to be playing along with something like this. Mark Wahlberg really does a good job at being loose, funny, and unafraid to make a fool of himself. He gives this movie his all and makes the most of talking to a stuffed animal. Mila Kunis, a "Family Guy" cast member, plays Wahlberg's girlfriend and is well-cast too. MacFarlane voices Ted. He essentially uses the Peter Griffin voice from "Family Guy", but uses it to great effect. Then come the cameos. There are cameos from so many actors/entertainers (I won't spoil who they are) and it is very fun to see them playing along. Everyone looks as if they are having fun, and that made the movie that much more enjoyable to me.
The visual effects are solid too. Ted is completely computer-generated and he never looks anything less than real.
Overall, Ted is a very good movie with ample laughs and a big heart. If you love "Family Guy", run to the theater. If not, stay far away.