Posted on 7/01/12 07:50 PM
Seth MacFarlane made a name for himself in 1999 when he created the hit animated sitcom 'Family Guy'. Even though the show was canceled not once, but two times by Fox early on in its run, its cult following helped it get back on the air in 2005 and since then, it has become one of Fox's biggest hits. I've been a fan of Family Guy ever since about 2008 but like everyone else, I agree that the show has certainly declined in overall quality in recent years. Now there can be many reasons for this, but it seems that one of the main reasons for it would be that MacFarlane was busy with his directorial debut, 'Ted', and the reason why I say this is because Ted is easily one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time. MacFarlane brings his trademark humor to the big screen with great success, with a film that is not just funny as hell but also very heartwarming at the same time, which is something that doesn't really happen that much with most R-rated comedies.
John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a normal guy from Boston whose life changed on the day he got a teddy bear for Christmas when he was 8. Longing for a friend, he wishes that the bear would come to life and by the miracle of a shooting star, he does. The two become inseparable and 27 years later, John and Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) are still best friends. However, Ted's vulgar and immature lifestyle has affected John's life greatly, even when he is in the midst of a relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis), who asks John to have Ted move out so that they could move on with their lives. This forces John to start acting his age, even when his relationship with Ted keeps preventing that from happening and John must find a way to keep both his girlfriend and his best friend in his life.
'Ted' is very similar in style and tone to Family Guy. It takes place in New England, one of the main characters is something that shouldn't even exist, and the characters of John and Ted do very much resemble Peter and Brian on Family Guy. In fact, Ted sounds exactly like Peter Griffin and they even make a joke about it in the film. On Family Guy, MacFarlane constantly pushes the envelope for what can be shown on television, and 'Ted' pretty much gives him free reign to do even more than what he could get away with on Family Guy. There are racial jokes, ethnic jokes, 80's references, and so on. Basically, it's the usual crazy stuff you see on Family Guy, and trust me when I say that this film truly deserves the 'R' rating it has been given.
But 'Ted' has something that makes it all work and that is heart. True, both John and Ted act immature and vulgar, but both are actually pretty likeable and are true friends to the end. The main message of the film of growing up and taking responsibility for yourself is very genuine and despite all of the racist and ethnic humor that this movie spews out constantly, it's not hateful in any way. The ending in particular is enough to warm the heart of any New Englander. The screenplay is very well-written and the film never gets dull at any point. Patrick Stewart as the narrator goes beyond the boundaries of your typical narrator, and even when the film becomes more of a thriller during the final act, MacFarlane still pulls in enough jokes to make it all worthwhile.
Mark Wahlberg does a great job here, and really should be given a lot of credit for interacting with something that was only added into the film in post-production. MacFarlane, of course, gets the biggest laughs as this vulgar and obnoxious teddy bear, and him and Wahlberg have great chemistry together. Wahlberg also has great chemistry with Mila Kunis as well, and the filmmakers don't go the cheap route with how her character is written. Instead of just making her a heartless objector of Ted's actions, she's someone who does love her boyfriend but is annoyed that he still acts like a child, obviously because of the bear who has been his best friend since he was 8 years old, which is affecting any chance they have at taking their relationship to the next level. The other members of the cast bring some great humor as well, including Joel McHale as Lori's boss who keeps trying to hit on her and Giovanni Ribisi as a creepy father who tries to acquire Ted for his son.
Seth MacFarlane's directorial debut is one for the ages and is easily the funniest film of the year so far. Wahlberg, MacFarlane, Kunis are great together and as crude, vulgar, and crazy as much of this film is, it does have a lot of heart to it. This easily makes up for the lackluster run that Family Guy has been on for the last few seasons, and while I'm not exactly saying that MacFarlane should stop doing Family Guy just yet, it's clear that MacFarlane should focus on his film career now because he has a lot to offer. Obviously, if you're a fan of Family Guy, then you'll love this movie. But even if you aren't, then I would still recommend this movie because I guarantee that you will be very much entertained by it.