Film Review: Fearless Comedy of Seth MacFarlane’s Original ‘Ted’

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CHICAGO – “Ted” is one of the most inventive and surprising films of the year. It has a sense of humor that will be very familiar to fans of writer/director Seth MacFarlane’s “Family Guy” but is refreshingly unique in a film genre that is too often stale. In fact, most of the Summer 2012 movies have been incredibly predictable and there’s NOTHING predictable about “Ted.” MacFarlane’s willingness to go strange places for a laugh make “Ted” a solid comedy but his inexperience behind the camera and in screenwriting hold the film back from true greatness.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Narrated in its opening and closing moments by Patrick Stewart, “Ted” opens like a family movie, the tale of a little boy without many friends who makes a wish that his beloved teddy bear will be turned into a real playmate. His dream comes true and Ted springs to life, accompanying John on his journey through life and even becoming a semi-celebrity in the process (a talking teddy bear naturally gets a bit of tabloid attention). Of course, little boys grow up and Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane after John grows up) has a tough time becoming an adult. Probably because he’s a talking teddy bear. Ted smokes a lot of pot, watches a lot of ‘80s movies (the film is riddled with references to the films of that era), and screws a lot of hookers.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Ted” in our reviews section.

Of course, John (Mark Wahlberg) thinks Ted is still pretty awesome. He’s still his best friend and girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) is surprisingly supportive of her beau’s pint-sized partner in crime. For now. Lori’s friends at work (where she’s employed by a sleazy and scene-stealing Joel McHale) keep telling her that John needs to commit and Lori begins to wonder if the pot-smoking stuffed animal isn’t holding her future husband back from commitment. It doesn’t help that John has a dead-end job (with Matt Walsh and Patrick Warburton) at a rental car company and when John uses their four-year anniversary to NOT pop the question, Lori starts to wonder where they’re going.

It’s all an excuse for a litany of sex jokes, pot jokes, and a cavalcade of pop culture references. Many of them, especially the ones that you will never see coming, are truly inspired. “Ted” comes from that school of non-stop comedy in which if one joke doesn’t work for you then you need merely wait a few seconds because the next one probably will. MacFarlane is surprisingly sentimental with John and Lori’s love (which itself feels like an ode to ‘80s comedies that often treated their love affairs with less cynicism) but the majority of “Ted” is about making you laugh and no target is off limits. This is not a comedy for anyone who might be turned off by humor that plays a little loose with race, sex, and any other subjects that may be considered taboo. Honestly, if you use the word “taboo,” don’t see “Ted.”

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Ted” review.

“Ted” stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton, and Matt Walsh. It was written by MacFarlane and Alex Sulkin & Wellesley Wild and directed by MacFarlane. It is rated R and opens on June 29, 2012.

Ted
Ted
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

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