DIRECTOR: Seth McFarlane
CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi
CLASSIFICATION: 16 S L N D P
RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes
CRASS as only Seth McFarlane (creator of Family Guy) can do, Ted is nonethless funny and sweet.
Even when it goes on about 25 minutes after it should have ended, belabouring the point beyond bad taste, there is still fun to be had… if you’re a kid of the ’80s.
John Bennett (Wahlberg) is just that, a child growing up in the ’80s who was given a teddy bear for a Christmas present when all of his friends were getting Cabbage Patch kids and Star Wars toys.
The teddy bear comes to life and becomes a celebrity, travelling the American talk show circuit. But, eventually Ted (voiced by McFarlane) proves that “no matter how big a splash you make in this world whether you’re Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, Justin Bieber, or a talking teddy bear, eventually, nobody gives a s**t,” as the narrator puts it.
Since he still has this emotional crutch from his youth, the teddy bear who is his best friend, John doesn’t have any reason to grow up. His life is great. In fact, John grows up to have the life Corey Feldman probably dreamt of. His best friend is a teddy bear with a foul mouth, they smoke pot practically every day and his girlfriend looks like Jackie Burkhart. Actually, his girlfriend IS Jackie Burkhart, since she is played by Mila Kunis.
These kind of in-jokes make the film. Also, the CGI makes for a credible walking teddy bear, albeit a really rude one who does wildly inappropriate things with vegetables.
This is not some heart-felt drama about the emotional maturing of a 30-something man who needs to grow up. It is an excuse to pepper a script with one-liners that will have 30-odd-year- olds who grew up on He-Man and Braveheart, who know what Atari was and where the words “Death to Ming” come from, sniggering from start to finish.
The script lurches unevenly when it tries to concentrate on the storyline of girlfriend Lori deciding she’s had enough of her child-man and wants to move on.
It’s the one-liners and cameos that saves it though.
There are appearances from people like Norah Jones and Tom Skerrit who manage to poke fun at themselves and Sam Jones. Now, if you know who Sam Jones is, this film is for you. Otherwise, it’s just going to seem rather lame.
For all that the humour is very crude when it isn’t slyly referential to the ’80s, there’s a unexpected sweetness to the whole idea. Wahlberg is charming as a guy who still sees the best in everyone and while some may call it a weird bromance, the film does touch on the idea of male bonding.
There is nothing PC about the film, but hidden among all the jokes is a sad little indictment of today’s society if the strongest, most loyal relationship you will see between two guys on screen at the moment, is between a man and his teddy bear.
If you liked… Superbad or Due Date… you will like this.