Friday, June 26, 2015
I had written off this movie much before watching it, I was just not interested in seeing what Seth MacFarlane could do with a full length film, largely because of the hate I had for his work. Thinking about it now, I don't feel right hating his work as much as I did then; Family Guy has its issues, but the jokes can land really well, while the surreal stories can be very creative; it's just the work of a man who doesn't always land right, not awful work. Upon watching the first trailer, I somehow knew Ted was gonna be a more consistent work from the man, smart, crude, rude, but mainly hilarious. There's no doubt that we got a unique well-remembered comedy with jokes that just hit harder than the trailers could've ever predicted, showing how hard Seth could hit with less restraints. Seth MacFarlane won me over within two hours, I was impressed.
Much of the film works because of its leads, MacFarlane as Ted is perfect, even if it just sounds like Peter Griffin with a Boston accent, Seth manages to make it perfectly fitting. Every teddy bear needs an owner, Mark Wahlberg as John Bennett is that man, showcasing how adaptable he is to playing a slacker, Wahlberg nails the role of a sweet child turned man-child. Mila Kunis manages to make a wet-blanket character into a fun and believable one; sure she's a bit stubborn to Ted and John's playfulness, but you can't blame or hate her for it. Coming into the film as Ted's stalker is Giovanni Ribisi, a fun antagonist, despite seemingly useless beyond a need for a third act chase. Plenty of other cast members appear, though largely as cameos, ranging from Patrick Warburton, Alex Borstein, Norah Jones, Ryan Reynolds and of course, Sam Jones, they all have their fun moments with their small sequences, though only Joel McHale plays a bit of a bigger role into the film's plot, despite being kind've useless and the major weak link of the film.
Seth loves the 80's and realistically who doesn't? Even if you were born after that decade, the pop culture you're consuming is largely a product of that decade; which is why the jokes here manage to land so hard. Even if you've never heard of John's favorite movie, the amount of jokes on display are enough to win you over, while the way the pop culture jokes are made perfectly make it accessible even for those aren't aware of them. The biggest surprise for me though is how much of it isn't as vulgar as I'd imagine, sure Ted is crude, rude and offensive, but the film never goes too far, or feels like shock humor is at play just because. In the end though, the nostalgia is what works, Ted is a film about a man-child whose best friend is his old teddy bear, the best way to go about it is highlighting how much of their life revolves around the stuff they grew up with, something most man-child films rarely seem to be able to perform in a flawless manner.
As the story progresses it becomes pretty obvious that the film is more like a sitcom rather then a film, which honestly feels fitting. As a movie that originally began life with television in mind, it makes sense that the story plays second fiddle to the slice of life moments of the film, sure it all connects but that's not the point, this is a character driven film, we care less for how it all ties up and more about how likable (however cruel) our leads will be by the end.
By the end, the weakest points of the film end up being the most story driven segments in the film. Joel McHale's sub-plot about stealing Mila's affections come up short and unnecessary, despite having some funny bits it never gels too well. As mentioned before, the third act becomes a chase after Ribisi's character after kidnapping Ted, funny stuff to be sure, but it kind've feels wrong for the film, perhaps too forced or too rushed the third act feels strange considering the first two acts.
Despite some weaknesses, Ted actually is one of the better comedies in recent years. Consistently hilarious despite the story issues, you'll find yourself laughing more often then not, even if you're not a big fan of Seth MacFarlane.
Written By Octaviano Macias