By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 9 out of 10
Seth MacFarlane has undoubtedly changed the landscape of television by reinventing the sitcom with shows like “American Dad,” “The Cleveland Show,” his upcoming revamp of “The Flintstones,” and of course, “Family Guy.” When word spread that he was directing his first live action film, it was questionable how he would be able to apply his humor to real life when in animation he got away with some of the raunchiest material on television. With Ted, MacFarlane holds nothing back, giving us one of the best comedies of the year.
The plot is pretty cut in dry as shown in previous trailers. When John (Mark Wahlberg) was a young boy he wished that his teddy bear would come to life. Now at age 35 John is all grown up, and so is his teddy bear, Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), who turned into a pot smoking, drinking, foul-mouthed being. John’s girlfriend of four years, Lori (Mila Kunis), wants John to kick Ted out so they can move on with their lives. For John and Ted though, that is easier said than done.
The performances by Wahlberg and MacFarlane are nothing short of hilarious. Wahlberg is at his funniest since 2008’s The Other Guys. The banter between the two is comic gold. Mila Kunis (who also voices Meg on “Family Guy”) provides a nice foil for Wahlberg, and has some pretty hilarious moments as well. With a supporting cast including Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton, plus a slew of surprise cameo appearances, the film’s cast is awesome all around.
For those that are familiar with the format of “Family Guy” with its cutaways and jump cuts, then you’ll know what to expect when watching Ted. While the usual cutaway gags in the show are minimal in the movie, the fact that they’re there is noticeable, despite how hilarious they are. Even one of the show’s composers, Walter Murphy, wrote the original score for the movie. Seth MacFarlane’s voice is already distinguished and recognizable from the characters he voices, and it’s no doubt that some moviegoers will confuse Ted with “Family Guy’s” Peter Griffin. For MacFarlane though, a guy that grew up in Providence, it’s nearly impossible to disguise the accent naturally.
Despite these minor issues, MacFarlane knows what he is doing. While there are some cutaway gags, they’re funnier when done in real life. The plot may feel predictable but then again some classics are predictable. MacFarlane is a guy that grew up watching classical film and musicals, and beneath the layers of jokes and humor that make up the majority of the film lies a bare-bones structure for a classic movie in terms of narrative and musicality. The film’s theme song, “Everybody Needs A Best Friend,” even exudes a classical feeling, and having Norah Jones sing the song doesn’t disprove that claim either.
With Ted you’ll find some of the raunchiest humor on the big screen this summer, but what you might not expect is that there are also sweet moments, and you can’t help but to love these characters. Ted proves that Seth MacFarlane is ready to conquer the big screen, and if his TV shows prove anything then MacFarlane will shake up the landscape of comedy on the big screen for years to come.