Wednesday, July 11, 2012

TED Review

Seth MacFarlane, creator of the Fox animated mega-hit "Family Guy," enters the realm of filmmaking with his first feature debut, "Ted," which turns out to be a live-action "Family Guy." It's defiantly what you expect going into it. The same trademark MacFarlane humor with wisecracking pop culture references, unabashed vulgarity, sexual raunch, joyous political incorrectness and random cameos from celebrities who really have no business showing up. These cameos are actually pretty great, though, so keep your eyes peeled. MacFarlane co-stars in the movie he wrote and directed providing the voice of the fun-loving, foul-mouthed teddy bear come-to-life, Ted, who even makes the joke that his voice doesn't sound THAT much like Peter Griffin's. Spoiler alert: it does.

On one fateful Christmas morning, young John Bennett receives an enormous stuffed teddy bear. He's thrilled with the present but also wishes the bear could come to life and be a true friend forever. Wish granted. The now walking, talking bear becomes an overnight sensation, a celebrity appearing on the likes of the Johnny Carson show. But just as the narrator explains, giving examples like Frankie Muniz and Corey Feldman, all fame eventually fades. Years pass, and the now 35-year-old John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) has lived with Ted as a roommate and best friend his whole life sitting on the couch watching TV, getting high and prolonging adolescence.

Against all odds, John has an extremely attractive and successful girlfriend of four years. Her name is Lori Collins (Mila Kunis), and while she has put up with Ted all this time, a new point has been reached where she wants Ted to finally move out. That way, Lori and John can finally take their relationship to the next level.  This immediately turns the plot into a bromance vs. romance dynamic, which has been explored countless times in comedies before. The one-note joke of the buddy of this particular buddy movie being a stuffed bear does last but not forever. Eventually the material wears thin as do the laughs. A creepy father (Giovanni Ribisi) and his chubby son start stalking Ted and attempt to kidnap him, creating wild tonal shifts into a cheap thriller.

And yet thank goodness for the always surprising and talented Mark Wahlberg who plays the ideal lovable slacker with his Bostonian drawl he does so well. Kunis, likewise, is cute as a caring and concerned girlfriend who does her very best to play this relationship straight when there's a teddy bear in the mix. As hard as they try, though, Seth MacFarlane's "Ted" isn't nearly as funny as it should be. And what, pray tell, is his crazy, fan boy-like obsession with the 1980 sci-flick "Flash Gordon," which he relentlessly refers to throughout the movie's entirety?

No comments:

Post a Comment