Ted is a 2012 American comedy film, directed, written and produced by Seth MacFarlane and starring himself as the title character, with Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Stroup, and Patrick Warburton. The film is the feature-length directorial debut of MacFarlane, produced by Media Rights Capital, and distributed by Universal Pictures. Ted opens in suburban Boston on the day before Christmas, 1985. With Patrick Stewart narrating, it briefly sounds like we're going to enter a world of magic and nostalgia... until we're told about the favorite pastime of WASPy pre-teen boys. Living in this idealized community is John Bennett (who will grow up to be played by Mark Wahlberg), a seven-year old outcast with no friends who immediately becomes attached to his favorite Christmas present: an oversized teddy bear. That night, he makes an ill-advised wish for Teddy to come to life and, because nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish (except an Apache helicopter), John awakens to discover that, for the first time in his life, he has a best friend. The scene in which he introduces Teddy to his parents is priceless.
What Is Good About The Movie:
The story is pretty simple. Johnny and Ted hang out, do drugs, say deplorable things, and do little with their lives. Their night-long bender is hilarious stuff. But, Lori needs Johnny to grow up, and basically gives him an ultimatum to choose between her or the stuffed bear. One of the tricks of Ted -- perhaps its smartest one -- is that everyone, not just John, knows the bear can talk. (A montage shows the bear’s early years of celebrity, including appearances with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, before the masses tire of his particular novelty and move on to other things.) And almost everyone's OK with Ted's presence, until John’s longtime girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis, who doesn’t have much to do but who’s a good sport about it), decides it’s time for her highly unambitious boyfriend (he toils away at a car-rental joint) to put away childish things, i.e. Ted. Time for the little guy to put on a suit (“I look like something you give to your kid before you tell him grandma died,” he mutters) and toddle off to his first job interview, so he can move out of John’s life and into his own apartment.
Ted holds steady, not least because its technical values are impressively high – it’s easy enough to believe this bad-news bear really can talk – and because Ted’s character design is so winning. His eyebrows are particularly expressive, furry little hyphens of consternation, anxiety or wicked delight. And then, once you’ve heard the outstandingly ridiculous “Thunder Buddy” song, John and Ted’s preferred mode of quelling a stubborn leftover-from-childhood fear, you might just wish you had your own talking bear. But probably not. The clever absurdity of Ted is just about as much NSFW, wish-come-true nonsense as any sane person needs.
What Is Bad About The Movie:
Ted manages to not wear out its welcome with me, though the picture loses its way with the introduction of an unnecessary subplot involving Giovanni Ribisi as an unhinged bearnapper. (These days, does Ribisi ever play a character who’s not unhinged?) And though I LOVE Seth's humor, I can't help but think that five years from now, jokes about Brandon Routh and Susan Boyle might go over viewers’ heads. This humor works in 2012, but it might not have a long shelf life.