Seth MacFarlane has become a bit hit and miss lately, but one of his most famous creations was Ted. It tells a young boy named John Bennett is lonely and has no friends. For Christmas, he receives a teddy bear and names it Ted (Seth MacFarlane). He wishes that Ted was alive so they could be friends. His wish comes true, and young John finally has a friend to play with. Twenty seven years later, John (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted are still best friends and living together. John spends all his time watching movies, playing video games and smoking weed with Ted, much to the dismay of his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis). In light of this, Ted moves out and gets a job.
But is Ted great or just full of fluff? Robbie and Cookie decide
Seth MacFarlane is a man who stopped caring what people think of him a long time ago. I admire that about him – To just be able to put out whatever you want and not have a care in the world. Sure, he’s offended pretty much everyone in the process and created a rather large collection of haters, but hey, good on him. Seth knows that there are people out there (including myself) who enjoy his work and his sense of humour. His programs Family Guy and American Dad have proved to be huge hits amongst audiences, even if every episode leads to complaints from parents who apparently don’t have the common sense to just ban their kids from watching it. MacFarlane’s humour cuts deep, willing to take a stab at just about anything or anyone, no matter how offensive.
Personally, I love that; I wouldn’t say I have a sick sense of humour, but I do a get kick out of the “not ok” jokes that we hear nowadays, sprouted by the likes of Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle. Do I find everything that MacFarlane writes funny? Of course not. I’ve never been offended but even I know when something is too much. But other times, it’s those moments when I have to laugh, just because I can’t fathom the fact that a human being has the balls to say something like that and it’s so entertaining. When he made the jump to the big screen in 2012, a lot of people were sceptical – He’s spend his entire career hiding behind animated characters (And yes, he even spends this one behind an animated character), will his humour work in live action? Is he any good in the director’s chair? Well, despite its fair share of criticism, Ted is actually pretty damn good
As per usual with Seth’s work, a lot of jokes fall flat. Not because they’re too offensive or anything, but because they’re just not funny. Like, the subject matter isn’t funny enough to joke about. However, that doesn’t dent the film’s humour, as it’s mostly on top form. From John and Ted’s thunder song to small quips from the bear (“I can hear the fat kid running, I bet it’s hilarious” always has me in tears), the film is packed with laughs.
What makes it even funnier are the great performances all around, most notably Mr. Marky Mark Wahlberg as John. Wahlberg usually plays cops, criminals, soldiers, those kinds of roles. So to see him in a comedy not quite being himself, and to be honest, having fun, is fantastic. He plays the delinquent, somewhat whiney John perfectly. Mila Kunis does well in a simple role, and Family Guy favourite Patrick Warburton plays a random and rather weird performance, but still quite funny. The film has great cameos too, including Ryan Reynolds as Warburton’s silent lover and Sir Patrick Stewart as the narrator of the film, but none of them top Sam Jones. Sam Jones played Flash Gordon in the horribly cheesy 80s film of the same name, which John and Ted love, and he Jones appears as himself at one of Ted’s parties, leading to one of the most mental comedy movie scenes since the hotel bust up in Get Him to the Greek. The entire Flash Gordon segment of this film is the best part of it, because it’s absolutely crazy, and there’s something oddly hilarious about an animated bear fighting a duck called James Franco. And Sam Jones referring to the Chinese man next door as Ming the Merciless is absolutely brilliant. He may be a washed up star, something the film doesn’t make too much fun of, but Sam Jones seems to have the time of his life in this movie, which does nothing but help it.
It’s not one of the best comedies ever made, and it may not be to everyone’s taste, but whether you plan to see A Million Ways to Die in the West for MacFarlane’s writing or Neil Patrick Harris’ epic moustache, have a faith in it, because Ted was clearly something new for him, but he got it bang on first time. Let’s hope AMWTDITW (screw typing all that again) is just as good.
I was roughly about ten when Seth MacFarlane came into my life. Ten. That ripe old age where anything remotely offensive was automatically the shit. Especially after years of diligently watching The Simpsons and not quite clicking with how stupidly bellicose that was until many ages had passed. Family Guy came into my life and I lapped it up like the shitty little kid that I was, not realising or being blinded to the fact that South Park was and will always be a better satirical show. For me, MacFarlane was god, creating a family of miscreants for me to obsessive over and furtively tell my friends the jokes the days after, thinking I was being the coolest.
And then something strange happened. The love for Family Guy started to wane. I don’t want to put this down to growing up. It has nothing to do with age, I can still watch older series of Family Guy and laugh my ass off. But MacFarlane started to crack under the pressure of keeping up with a prime and loved television show that his jokes became sloppy. They became less well-structured wit and more offensive stabs at celebrities. They became more offensive, perpetrating violence and sexual violence not for any real reason other than to provoke and offend. And South Park was still doing it better.
Fast forward many years later and MacFarlane was releasing his first film. Billboards everywhere were screaming “From The Man who Brought You Family Guy.” Part of me rolled my eyes and simply pottered on with my day. The other half was really excited. This could be the movie that allowed MacFarlane to progress, inching closer to the originality that he was busting out when he first began. And the idea seemed so incredible. There were so many children’s movie where toys came to life but they never showed what exactly would happen when that toy grew up with the child and Ted looked like a hilarious concept to muddle around with.
And I was heavily disappointed.
Ted was just Family Guy all over again. Sure the premise was there and that was still good but the film never truly enhanced on the idea that Ted was a cocaine snorting, woman fucking mess. In fact, it was a near two hour long film about how gross they can make a child’s toy. There were still unnecessary swipes at celebrities and cameos that felt off. With every tongue wrapping words around fuck jokes and toilet humour, I lost a bit of excitement. They weren’t funny, they barely encouraged a titter and as the film progressed, I found myself bored.
The other parts of the film didn’t exactly work either. Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis punctuated the filthy jokes but had no chemistry. They were supposed to be together when actually, it felt wooden and sloppy. The relationship never enters into any realism, its stale and it continues to do so as they navigate their life with Ted. There is no tension, or passion. Wry and bland, they did nothing to pique interest in the film.
It all made me really bored. So bored. So dull. So tedious. There was nothing new here to hold my attention and in the confines of a cinema, so warm and cozy, I fell asleep. It is very rare that I fall asleep in a film. I have to be really ill or the film has to be just that bad. I fell asleep and awoke to find that nothing heavily exciting was happen.
The disdain for Ted had nothing to do with my hate for truly offensive jokes. While I may be sensitive to some jokes, I can sit through a goddam movie that wags it’s shitty stick at things to upset or satire the subject matter (see: South Park.) It’s just comedy has to have a reason and there isn’t anything more than “ha ha how hilarious, an alcoholic bear.”
It felt as though MacFarlane was squandering some of his talents (because, despite the Oscars, he does have them) to punctuate our lives with this sloppy average fest. If he spent more time working on the plot and the relationships than stuffing Ted into strip joints, it would have been a good movie, even great. But the appeal ran dry and it stretched one basic idea so thinly that it was a disappointing effort. The concept should have worked better but instead it recycled old Family Guy jokes. It relied too heavily on an alcoholic drug taking foul mouthed bear and it got old really quick throughout the movie.
The funniest thing about Ted? It’s the Patrick Stewart narration.
That shits as good as an Apache Helicopter.