Few people get away with offensive humor the way Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane does. Whether it’s a member of a religious group or a particular ethnicity, it seems that no one is safe from his roving spotlight of criticism. His newest venture is into the realm of feature film with the movie Ted.
Inspired by many buddy comedies from the ’80s, McFarlane has created yet another lovable character in the foul-mouthed teddy bear that came to life after an 8-year-old boy names Johnny (Mark Wahlberg) wished for it on Christmas day. 27 years later, the two are as close as ever but instead of playing games of catch, they get high and watch Flash Gordon, much to the chagrin of Johnny’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis).
From this point, the story is about Johnny’s inability to mature, despite his girlfriend quickly running out of patience. The film always finds spots to place McFarlane’s brand of ribald humor, often unable to resist falling into the conventions made famous in Family Guy but fans of the show should expect as much – which basically sums up the movie’s style, to a degree.
This is a romantic-comedy genre film with one fantastical and comedic element that affects the whole story: the existence of this lovable, magical, somewhat perverted teddy bear. Ted steals the show and scenes without him, while doing their best, rarely match the comedy or tenderness of the scenes with Ted in them.
That’s not to say that it’s not an enjoyable film because it is – just don’t expect McFarlane to transcend his past work too much. Fans of Family Guy will feel right at home; in fact, even those who are familiar with his sense of humor will find themselves howling with laughter at times throughout the film as he proves that he has some new tricks up his sleeve for live-action films.
It’s difficult to say that this would serve as a good “date movie.” Yes, it’s a romantic comedy and the comedy has a male sensibility, but that might put off some female audiences as the fart humor may flow a bit too freely. On the other hand, fans of 80s and 90s culture will revel in the non-stop cameos of familiar faces doing things you wouldn’t necessarily expect. The CGI on the Ted character is absolutely incredible at times, making him seem completely tangible and real to the audience at times and, while the illusion never falls below believable, there are times where the fluffy little guy appears to be less convincing – with that being said, the performances of interaction with Ted are impressively acted.
McFarlane has said that he wanted to make a film like “Ghostbusters” in that the characters of the film are completely believable and one fantastical element is where the conflict is born. He achieves these ends to a degree but, unfortunately, his brand of humor might not be as universally loved as the Ivan Reitman films that inspired him.