Barrett’s Review: ‘Ted’ Is The Best Comedy of the Year… So FarBy
So far this year we’ve been treated to some half-assed comedy romps, such as Adam Sandler’s abysmal That’s My Boy, and dissapointing outings from usually reliable comedic talents, i.e. Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator. With action blockbusters comprising most of our slate throughout June and July, Seth MacFarlane’s motion picture debut, Ted, provides some much-needed variety. It’s a wonderfully-executed comedy that will have Family Guy devotees and casual moviegoers LOL-ing.
Throughout his near-decade run on Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane has become a master of comedy storytelling. While the irreverent cutaways have become his signature, he weaves the randomness into a cohesive story arc that ultimately provide a thoughtful statement on things we can all relate to. This has prepared him to seamlessly transition to the big screen, with Ted, the story of a young Boston kid who wishes that his Christmas teddy bear would come to life and be his BFF. A seemingly innocent tale, as most of MacFarlane’s Family Guy stories begin, but is powered by his well-known brand of sick and twisted humor, providing a hysterical contrast of innocence and depravity.
In interviews with MacFarlane, he has stated that the idea for Ted came to him years ago, but he didn’t have the clout or access to the requisite motion-capture technology to pull off a film where the main character is a CGI teddy bear. As James Cameron did with Avatar, MacFarlane waited for the technology to catch up with his ambitions, and what we get is a thoroughly impressive animated character who is seamlessly integrated into the live-action environment. Ted just looks awesome. Particularly, during a really intense fight scene (ala The Bourne series) where, during a pivotal moment in Ted’s relationship with his BFF John (Mark Wahlberg), the two GO AT IT; slamming each other into walls, breaking windows, smashing each other’s faces (think of all the over-the-top intense fights in Family Guy). Props to Seth and Wahlberg for crafting a truly memorable and hilarious fight sequence.
As alluded to, this movie is supremely raunchy. As Ted magically comes to life from a boy’s wish (something seemingly impossible), Ted is launched into international fame, appearing on magazine covers and The Tonight Show. And as what happens to a lot of unfortunate souls who rise to fame at a young age, Ted becomes a foul-mouthed, drug/alcohol/sex-addicted cliché; again showcasing the brilliant contrast with what teddy bears inherently, usually emody: adorable innocence. This doesn’t bode well with John’s long-time girlfriend, Laurie (played by the lovely Mila Kunis), who pines for John to grow up and distance himself from Ted so that the two can start their life together as a legitimate couple. But John loves Ted, as the two have been together since childhood. And he has trouble saying no to Ted’s persistent invitations to get high and party, especially when it involves their lifelong idol, Sam Jones from Flash Gordon. A character/plot element that is randomly present throughout a lot of the story; seemingly an extension from MacFarlane’s love for 1980′s pop culture. There is a scene where Ted frantically calls John to come party, John refuses due to a prior obligation with Laurie, but when Ted mentions “Sam Fucking Jones is Here,” John races to the party and a hilarious sequence of shots and coke lines ensue.
The film also features a slew of awesome cameos and supporting performances from Family Guy alums and others, including: Joel McHale, Patrick Warburton, Alex Borstein, Giovanni Ribisi, Nora Jones, and another that I won’t mention, as it is an A-list actor, who has no lines, but randomly shows up at the Sam Jones party, and it’s hilarious. You’ll know when you see it. McHale is particularly awesome as Laurie’s boss, who is basically obsessed with her and attempts to break up her relationship with John. He’s a huge douchebag. A giant dick. And he’s just great.
Overall, Ted is a refreshingly well-done comedy and an impressive writing, staring and directiroial debut from Mr. MacFarlane. Making Ted a film that you shouldn’t miss.
What Should You Do? See it.