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'Ted' Movie Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

Mark Wahlberg in 'Ted'

Mark Wahlberg in 'Ted'

© Universal Pictures
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane proves his wit and humor do translate well to the big screen with Ted, one of the funniest movies of 2012. Okay, the premise does sound more like something you'd see poked fun of via an Saturday Night Live video short than an actual major studio feature film. And you might be turned off by the thought of a one-joke premise stretched to a two-hour running time. But give the raunchy talking teddy bear movie a chance and it'll deliver jokes that hit more often than miss. Plus, you'll find it doesn't wear out its welcome and it has a surprising amount of heart.
MacFarlane not only wrote and directed Ted but also provides the voice of Ted the bear, a character who's basically the bear version of Family Guy's Peter Griffin. However, MacFarlane's not trying to hide this connection, even going as far as to have John (played by Mark Wahlberg) and Ted get into a hotel room-trashing fight that will immediately bring to mind Peter's fights with the giant chicken. But MacFarlane's script is clever enough that it plays just as well with Family Guy fans as with moviegoers who've never caught an episode of the crazy animated comedy.

The Plot:

Young John has no friends, except for his trusty teddy bear named Ted. So wouldn't it be nice if Ted weren't just a cute, fluffy stuffed animal but was actually able to talk and could be John's best friend forever? In an extreme example of a 'be careful what you wish for' cautionary tale, John wishes Ted to life. Thanks to a shooting star and some magic, little Johnny's wildest dream comes true.

Flash-forward 30 or so years, and that cute talking bear who used to be a hit on the TV talk show circuit is now a pot-smoking pervert who still lives with John and keeps him from acting his age. John and Ted have remained best buddies, although John's extraordinarily patient girlfriend of four years (played by Mila Kunis) would love it if both man and bear would grow up and get on with their lives - without the need to get high every day. With his relationship hanging in the balance, John is finally forced to leave childish things behind - but what does that mean for poor Ted?

The Bottom Line:

As with Family Guy, Ted doesn't take it easy on any race, either sex, or celebrities (sorry Brandon Routh). It's packed with pop culture references, and absolutely nothing is safe from MacFarlane's barbed tongue.

Ted could have been a one trick pony. The fact it's not is due to MacFarlane, relishing in the freedom an R-rating allows, treating Ted the bear like any flawed human character. The good citizens of Boston accept the fact a talking bear walks (and drinks and smokes) among them, and that immediately puts the audience into the same mindset.

Mark Wahlberg is pretty much the straight man to Ted, however one of the funniest scenes (unfortunately given away in the trailer) allows Wahlberg to give better than he gets, ticking off white trash names in a rapid fire style. MacFarlane also smartly cast Mila Kunis (the voice of Family Guy's 'Meg') and kept the part of the girlfriend from being the stereotypical demanding witch.

But what really makes Ted work is the CG. Ted the bear is seamlessly integrated into scenes. The eye-line is always perfect, and the actors are so committed to working opposite a talking bear that this CG character seems as real as its flesh-and-blood co-stars.

Ted is definitely not for everyone. It earned its hard R-rating and will offend anyone who thinks they're seeing a cute little talking animal movie and isn't prepared for the perverted nature of the talking Ted. This isn't Disney and Ted's not Winnie the Pooh. Ted's an entirely different sort of beast, and one that's unapologetically offensive - and funny.

GRADE: B+

Ted was directed by Seth MacFarlane and is rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use.

Theatrical Release: June 29, 2012

This review is based on a screening provided by the studio. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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