Director: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Stewart
Synopsis: As a child, John Bennett had a loving family but lacked any significant friends. So one Christmas he wishes his new toy teddy bear was alive. The next morning the wish came true, and Ted (MacFarlane) became a global sensation. The years have now passed, though, and Ted’s celebrity has faded. He is still John’s (Wahlberg) best friend though, and this causes problems in his relationship with long-term girlfriend Lori (Kunis).
There is no question this film came from the mind of the person behind hit series Family Guy. The humour is crude, and has a way of perverting the innocence of childhood. Yet it is done in such a way, with such irreverence, that it remains incredibly funny throughout, and is a comedy with gags and set pieces that successfully hit the right spot, unlike the majority of modern comedy films.
Wahlberg is fantastic in the lead, a genuine man-child in this role. Even more significantly, he emotes very well to a CGI character. So successful is his interaction with Ted, this more often feels like a buddy film than it does a special effects one. It is a mark of what a great actor Wahlberg can be when he selects the right material. The last time he performed this well in a comedy for me would have to be Date Night having not yet seen The Other Guys, which is now firmly back on my to-watch list).
MacFarlane, though never actually on the screen himself, is great as Ted, which is really an other version of his Peter Griffin, the voice being very similar indeed. Yet Ted does feel like a very fresh, unique character. It is also animated very well, with some great attention to detail. Look closely and you can notice worn patches in his fur, indicating that this teddy is just as victim to the ravishes of age as our own stuffed toys of old.
The rest of the supporting cast are also fantastic. Kunis does not play the average put-upon girlfriend, and indeed is overall quite accepting of Ted. Quite realistically, her frustration is at John’s inability to grow up, as influenced by Ted, more so than she is concerned purely about Ted’s bad influence. McHale and Ribisi also have very interesting villain roles, and having Stewart as a narrator is bloody priceless. Finally, on top of all this talent, there are a number of very well places cameos, which I will not get into further detail about now for fear of spoiling the surprise.
As a reviewer, my only concern while watching this film is that it is clearly a film that MacFarlane fans would enjoy, but I did wonder whether the humour would translate very well to people who were not already Family Guy or American Dad watchers. Conversations with RotFN colleague SmilinScottSowter however allayed my fears on this point. He actually is far from being a fan of these latter shows, and yet he also enjoyed Ted immensely. So this will indeed appeal to a wider adult audience.
This is clearly one of the better comedies I have seen recently. I can’t give it five stars as there are one or two moments that fall flat, but this is a minor concern given the hit-rate of jokes in this film is very high!
4 stars out of 5