Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Ted

Ted
Starring:
Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Aedin Mincks, Jessica Barth and the voices of Seth MacFarlane and Patrick Stewart.


Rated: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 29, 2012 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.

Ted has the anarchistic comic spirit of a film like Paul, a mixture of E.T. and Alf, and even with its flaws, including its way with pathos the high concept premise of Seth MacFarlane's directorial debut offers plenty of amusement for admirers of wanton activities. It may even work more for those who haven't cued into its advertising campaign.
 
As a young boy in the mid-1980s John Bennett dreamed for a best friend  (there is voice-over by Patrick Stewart in Xmas fable style) and got his wish when a stuffed, titular animal came alive (a CG creation voiced by MacFarlane). Ted became an overnight sensation as he appeared with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Now, over two decades later, John is a man-child toiling at a car rental place with the patience of his four-year girlfriend Lori, a sexy Mila Kunis of Friends With Benefits, at the limit with his troublemaker of a roommate who doesn't quite look like Teddy Ruxspin. One who reinforces the arrested development of John as he guzzles beer and smokes pot.
 
Some credit has to go to MacFarlane to keep the laughs coming even if the tale becomes more derivative in its latter going. Profanity and crudeness often prevails with vitriolic snaky and humor as well his animal character enough of a viable nature. Wahlberg (who did well opposite Will Ferrell in the goofy buddy comedy The Other Guys) may not support the levity quite as well here, but excels mostly as a straight man giving his dissolute costar as much of a chance as any other human counterpart on screen. One series of jokes come across as gratuitous, not as well thought out or presented as many of the other occasionally uproarious gags.
 
Using his irreverent small-screen style from his Family Guy, MacFarlane like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost did in Paul makes nods to memorable 1980s cinema, including Raiders of the Lost Ark and Airplane!, but even tarnished ones like Flash Gordon with a game Sam Jones in cameo hedonistic splurge. There's also Norah Jones in a brief self-effacing appearance, as well as another surprising uncredited turn from a "former sexist man alive."
 
Many may think Ted easily rivals (the recent remake) 21 Jump Street with its consistent brazen execution with the two top characters going through more than a bump in their relationship. John is desperate to get Lori who is being wooed by her lascivious accomplished boss Rex (Joel McHale, Talk Soup host on E!). More conflict from Ted's precarious position offers more in the way of action. A father (Giovanni Ribisi) obsessing on Ted for his son (Aedin Mincks) seen in the early sections has an effect later on; the actor who costarred with Wahlberg in Contraband and with Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary takes the wild neuroses of his Donny to an eerie if droll level. Jessica Barth is a tart gal from Ted's past on the prowl.
 
You can tell that the frisky filmmaker wanted to let loose a bit on the big screen and he more often than not succeeds in the transfer to live-action, one with some of his Family Guy story collaborators is unalloyed fun even if this persistent case of taking potshots is more than obvious in the end.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Ted  B+      B   C   B +      B+   B   B 

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