Ted – naughty little bear (and funny)…

Seth MacFarlane has made a hefty career from his hugely popular (and downright freaking hilarious) cartoon TV show Family Guy. It survived cancellations and backlash a-plenty and is still one of the most popular shows out there. And now comes Ted, MacFarlane’s first attempt in the world of live-action film; not always an easy transition. So does it work?

A lonely little boy called John Bennett, gets a teddy bear one Christmas who becomes his best friend. One night, John wishes his Ted was real and one shooting star later, voila: he is. Years later though and John (now Mark Wahlberg) is still hanging around with Ted who has grown into a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking, layabout. John’s exasperated girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) just wants him to grow up, kind of hard when you’ve got a piece of your childhood literally stopping you (and trying to get you to skip work all the time to get high).

Ok, so Ted isn’t exactly ground-breaking in its plot. What starts as an intriguing and humourous idea becomes pretty old pretty fast. But Ted still works thanks to the partnership of Wahlberg and Ted himself, voiced by MacFarlane. Not all the jokes work and a lot of people will not like the humour in Ted either – basically if you like Family Guy, you’ll probably love this. If you hate it and think it’s rude and crude, then avoid. Coz Ted is extra rude and crude.

Apart from the always funny Wahlberg, Mila Kunis is also great and is the heart of the film that grounds the more rude childish parts. There are also great cameos from Joel McHale (from TV show Community – if you’ve not seen that yet then check it out, NOW) as Lori’s sleezy boss, and the incredible and uber creepy Giovanni Ribisi as a man who shows unusual interest in the little bear. Although Ribisi is excellent, and hilarious, it is the subplot with him that is actually the main problem with the film. It tries to add extra jeopardy but feels tacked on, and ultimately unnecessary.

There are also a few parts that aim for funny ha-ha, but come out as funny-cruel-awkward, mostly a stereotypical portrayal of a Chinese neighbour which is very uneasy to watch. It doesn’t even seem to be a joke that is trying to say anything (like a lot of the jokes in Family Guy are when they seem a little wrong) and although it is (thankfully) brief, it is very hard to watch.

Despite this though, I really enjoyed Ted. I laughed out loud more than once and there are certain scenes that are some of the funniest I’ve seen in a while, including one of THE best house parties with one – or two – of the weirdest cameos ever. I hope that if MacFarlane does carry on working on live-action films, that he picks something as equally crude and funny to make, but that has a premise that can work for a full length film and not feel too stretched out like Ted sometimes does. Now, can someone give me a Ted teddy bear please? (yes, you can actually buy them!!!).

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~ by square-eyed-geek on September 13, 2012.

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