Dick and Fart Jokes
“Ted” is the feature film debut of Seth McFarlane, the man responsible for the animated television series “Family Guy”. And as it’s the case with “Family Guy” the defining feature of “Ted” is its predictable plotting and the juvenile dick and fart jokes and a sense of humor that is borderline insulting. Thankfully I like the juvenile dick and fart jokes and the borderline insulting humor well enough, and for me “Ted” as a film and a comedy works the best when the humor is, characteristically for McFarlane, outrageous and really dirty.
Anyway the film follows the friendship between John (Mark Wahlberg) and his teddy bear named Ted (voiced by McFarlane), who magically became sentient when John as a boy wished him in to life. But now John and Ted’s friendship is strained because John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) wants a more serious relationship with John who still spends way too much time with Ted, primarily getting high and watching the sublimely campy “Flash Gordon” movie from the 80’s. So it is decided that Ted needs to move out and get a job of his own. Predictability ensures as the plot jumps through hoops to give “Ted” that perfectly happy and disgustingly cheesy ending.
But as predictable as the storytelling is the humor and the actors keep “Ted” afloat. I really love everyone in this cast and they do good things with the script that they’ve been given. I really kinda had my doubts about Mark Wahlberg as a comedic actor but once again he shows a wonderful sense for comedic timing. He really delivers in pretty much every scene, my personal favorite being the "female white-trash names" scene. Mila Kunis gets the short end of it all however as her character is only there to put roadblocks in front of John and Ted and to set up jokes for them. But she’s still the attractive and charming Mila Kunis despite the unworthy role. I should also mention Giovanni Ribisi who gives a wonderfully creepy turn as Ted’s stalker Donny, but he is unfortunately very underused.
As for Seth McFarlane’s direction it is serviceable, he tries to do a few visually interesting scenes and some work well enough and some kind of fall flat. The one that falls flat for me was the fight scene between John and Ted. It’s Mark Wahlberg fighting a CGI teddy-bear and it’s just not very interesting. More successful is a cocaine soaked party scene at Ted’s new apartment, as well as the trippy fantasies about “Flash Gordon”. I can’t help but respect a movie that has such unabashed love for that film.
Fans of “Family Guy” will feel right at home with “Ted” and people who hate that show will probably not like this film either. I think that it’s a passable comedy but I’d attribute that primarily to the fantastic cast and the numerous pop-culture references and celebrity cameos in this film. Only that in Ted they’re the real people so the movie doesn’t make fun of them outright like “Family Guy” would. So I guess there’s a bit of that fearlessness of the show that’s lacking, but hey, there’s Flash Gordon!
Mark Wahlberg - John Bennett
Mila Kunis - Lori Collins
Seth McFarlane - Ted
Joel McHale - Rex
Giovanni Ribisi - Donnie
Ted on IMDb