If you were part of the young generation that first saw Toy Story hit cinema screens, you will have wondered if your toys came to life whenever you left the room. Perhaps you wished they would come to life, talk to you, and be your friends forever. Seth MacFarlane’s debut film Ted shows you the main reason why that would be a very bad idea – because one day you have to grow up. At least you’re supposed to.
It’s 1985, and an eight-year-old John Bennett is shunned by the rest of the kids in his community in a suburban area of Boston. When one Christmas his parents buy him a brand new teddy bear, he cherishes it and talks to it like it’s his best friend. One night he wishes that Ted would really come to life, and lo and behold the next morning Ted is alive and kicking. Fast forward 25 years with a well-crafted montage and a now adult John (Marc Wahlberg) still has his trusty friend Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) by his side, as well as a beautiful girlfriend (Mila Kunis).
Making his directorial debut, Seth MacFarlane manages to demolish the main obstacle he was facing, and that was steering himself away from Family Guy. There was always the risk that Ted would come across like an overextended TV show, but MacFarlane clearly has a keen eye for cinematic storytelling. He’s able to craft a solid, if occasionally misjudged story that feels like a movie without giving up on laughs. And boy, are there plenty of laughs to be had; Ted is packed with so many crass and silly jokes it almost makes you dizzy.
Mark Wahlberg gives a superb comedy performance, his first since the rather underrated The Other Guys. He’s proving to be one of Hollywood’s leading versatile actors, as one particular scene when he rhymes off names without taking a breath demonstrates. Mila Kunis is able to make the best of her role as John Bennett’s girlfriend. She’s a very likeable and occasionally funny character, already elevating her above the traditional female roles in rather blokey comedies. Patrick Stewart even puts on his best reading voice as the film’s narrator, providing the prefect humorous antidote to the bad fairy-tale movies we’ve had this year.
It should come as no surprise though that the real stand-out performance comes from Seth MacFarlane’s Ted. MacFarlane is able to make Ted a convincing central character without giving up on any of his charm. It’s probably in some way sacrilegious to make this comparison, but just in the same way you forget that The Simpsons are yellow and goofy looking, you forget that Ted is just a stuffed bear. Having said that, because Ted is a child’s toy he is able to say rather offensive and risky things that only he could really get away with. If you are Asian, Muslim, a woman from Boston, or a woman with what might be described as a “white trash name” then brace yourself. The rest of you, sit back and enjoy the best comedy of the year.
Image reproduced from filmofilia.com
Video reproduced from YouTube / TedIsReal
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