If you’re a fan of the TV show Family Guy, chances are, you’re already excited about Ted. And with good reason: it has the comedy pedigree of Seth McFarlane (making his live action feature debut) and the acting of, the not unattractive, Mila Kunis and Markie Mark. What you take from the film will be directly proportional to what you put into it. If you are expecting a really smart comedy with a higher gag rate that McFarlane’s TV shows then you’ll be somewhat disappointed. But the feature film format frees him up from the constraints of 20th Century Fox’s programming and he does that to make a film that’s edgier (and, unfortunately, cruder) than it’s TV brethren.
The basic premise is that Markie Mark is a thirty something year old man who has a teddy bear that walks and talks and shits in the woods. That teddy bear is the eponymous Ted and he’s voiced by McFarlane (doing Peter Griffin to the extent that a drunken Ted, at one point, exclaims ‘I do not sound that much like Peter Griffin!’) in a way that brings out all the ‘smart but a dick’ vibe that he can muster. The two of them get up to all sorts of hijinks, mainly involving Mila Kunis’ as Markie Mark’s long term girlfriend and then, later, in a weirdly meandering subplot involving a villainous Giovanni Ribisi. It’s a premise, rather than a plot and the execution is much better in the set-up than it is when the narrative has to take over and start driving things.
But the most important question, with any comedy, is: is it funny? The answer with Ted is, just about, yes. It made me laugh (not as hysterically as some other people in the theatre) but in a way that made me slightly resent the fact that I wasn’t watching two hours of Family Guy. The jokes share such a similar, almost recycled, DNA that it’s almost impossible to separate them. There are bits that are laugh out loud funny, bits that are chuckle worthy and other bits that miss the mark entirely (especially (for fuck’s sake, Hollywood) when they try and mix action and comedy). All things considered it’s probably one of the funnier offerings of a particularly barren summer.
Ted is offensive in a lot of ways and inconsistent in its attempts at humour. Still, it’s worth seeing for some genuinely outstanding comedy moments.
|Starring:||Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth McFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Ryan Reynolds, Sam Jones|
|Running Time:||100 minutes or so|