Posted April 2, 2012 by David Watson in Films
 
 

Ted


Lonely and friendless, all 8-year-old John wants for Christmas is a friend.

Lonely and
friendless, all 8-year-old John wants for Christmas is a friend.
Wishing on a star, John wishes his new
Teddy Ruxpin-style teddy bear was alive and, when he wakes the next morning his
wish has been granted, much to his parents’ consternation (Dad’s first
instincts are to get his gun). The
pair become a media sensation and Ted becomes the darling of the talk
shows. But like all child stars,
Ted’s star burns bright but burns out quick.

Fast-forward 28 years and John (Mark Wahlberg) is 35, stuck in a dead-end job at a car rental
showroom, while Ted (voiced by Seth
MacFarlane
) is a foul-mouthed, hooker-chasing pothead. They’re still best buds but going
nowhere, spending their nights (and some of their days) sat on the couch,
smoking dope and watching 1980’s camp sci-fi classic Flash Gordon. But John’s loving and tolerant
girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) thinks
it’s time he grew up, got rid of the teddy bear and married her. So Ted takes his first tentative steps
into the big, bad world alone, finding a job and an apartment. Reduced to
bagging groceries in a supermarket, Ted comments: “I’m a former
celebrity in a minimum wage job.
This must be how the cast of Different
Strokes feels. Well, the
ones that are alive anyway.” But
can Ted and John’s friendship survive?
And can John really make it without his Ted?

Ted is
a one-joke movie. Here’s the joke;
there’s this 35-year-old party animal teddy bear who drinks, smokes, swears,
takes drugs, shags hookers and says every obnoxious, vulgar, hilarious, un-PC
thing you wish you had the balls to say.
And he sounds like Peter from Family Guy. That’s it! That’s the whooooole movie! It’s one very filthy joke repeated over
and over again. But it’s a
pant-wettingly funny joke. Lewd,
crude and unashamedly offensive, Ted will leave you gasping for breath. The plot may be predictable but it
doesn’t matter; the bromance between Wahlberg’s John and MacFarlane’s Ted has
an easy chemistry that keeps you watching.

A gifted comic actor, Wahlberg never quite plays straight
man to the cute, vulgar teddy bear, bringing a hapless, befuddled, childlike
innocence to John that’s sweet and funny while MacFarlane, though essentially
just giving us a darker version of his Family Guy schtick, brings a
vulnerability to the talking soft toy that just sneaks up on you. As Lori, Mila Kunis (surely the one
girl in the world who probably would put up with her boyfriend having a stoner
teddy bear as a BFF?) never allows her character to become the whining, nagging
shrew she could so easily have been.

The supporting cast are terrific with Rules of Engagement’s Patrick Warburton good as John’s closeted colleague Guy who proudly
asserts his heterosexuality while spending his nights getting drunk at gay
underground fight clubs. Giovanni Ribisi is wonderfully creepy
as obsessive Ted fan and stalker Donny and an extended cameo by Flash Gordon’s Sam
J. Jones
, playing himself as a coke-snorting party animal is hilarious
while perhaps the best gag of the movie involves Ted’s affair with a very
unexpected pop princess, her pivotal cameo role touched by demented
genius.

Anarchic, raunchy and gleefully, hilariously offensive
there’s a good-natured underlying sweetness to Ted that is genuinely
refreshing. At its profane core,
Ted is a classic tale of friendship, of growing up, of finding your way in the
world. It just happens to also
revolve around a talking teddy bear who pays a hooker to crap on his best
friend’s floor during a game of Truth or Dare. Ted is cute, cuddly, crass fun.


David Watson

 
David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email: david.watson@filmjuice.com