Directed by Seth MacFarlane
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Stroup, Patrick Warburton, Joel McHale
Rated R | 106 Minutes
Release Date: June 29th, 2012
Ted might be the funniest film of the year. I’m actually kind of ashamed of how much I laughed during it. I’m talking about doubled-over, insane laughter that could be (and probably was) mistaken for a hysterical screaming fit – like I was being stabbed in the theater, Julius Caesar-style. Et tu, Seth?
From Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show, Ted stars Mark Wahlberg as John Bennett who, as the result of a childhood wish, has a living, breathing teddy bear companion in Ted (voiced by MacFarlane). John’s girlfriend of four years, Lori (Mila Kunis), wants more from their relationship and John will be forced to choose between the love of his life and his plush, stuffed best friend.
MacFarlane’s live-action effort features seamless computer animation visual effects facilities Tippett Studio (as in Phil Tippet, a childhood hero of mine) and Iloura. MacFarlane wrote the screenplay with Family Guy colleagues Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild. The amazing thing is, Ted feels like a live-action extension of MacFarlane’s signature style of animated shenanigans. From the random, completely obscure pop culture references to the surprise cameos, Ted instantly made me dream of a photorealistic Family Guy movie in the stylings of The Adventures of Tintin.
In typical MacFarlane fashion, Ted throws a billion jokes at you – and while plenty stick, there are a few that fail to find the mark. Of course, the story is all too familiar – the whole ‘romance versus bromance’ plot you’ve seen in countless romantic comedies – but the characters and sheer absurdity of this film totally make up for any feelings of ‘been there, done that.’
I can’t even talk about the most hilarious, ridiculous moments of Ted because it would spoil the fun. I’ll just say there are tons of cameos and references that will completely surprise you. It really does feel like a live-action episode of Family Guy, complete with knock-down, drag-out brawls and epic face plants. Wahlberg is perfect in his portrayal of a Bostonian man-child, who does a great job of convincing the audience that Ted is a real fuckin’ teddy bear who does bong hits and watches Flash Gordon all day.
The visual effects in this film are astounding – I mean sure it’s just a stuffed teddy bear but holy shit, Ted’s presence is every bit as magical as Gollum in Lord of the Rings or Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Aiding the spectacular effects, MacFarlane acted out Ted’s dialogue off-camera for the actors while simultaneously directing the film, giving Wahlberg and Kunis something to really react to.
Speaking of Kunis, Lori isn’t your stereotypical bitchy girlfriend who wants to re-program her significant other – a welcome change, I must say. It’s weird, there’s actually a lot of heart to Ted – a whimsical childhood wish come true that goes horribly wrong – and how two adults try to deal with the lingering presence of childhood and nostalgia. MacFarlane is making a statement on the increasing immaturity of men – which is interesting, considering his comedy has been a contributing factor to de-evolution of the male species for the past 10 years.
Overall, if you’re looking to laugh your ass off between all the superhero movies this summer, accept no substitutes. Ted is the funniest film of the year so far – and it will be extremely interesting to see where MacFarlane goes from here with his film career.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be logically plotting out a Ted / Paul cross-over where Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost team-up with Ted and Seth Rogen’s Paul to fight an alien invasion… [head explodes]
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