Ted: Defender of the Universe (Film Review)

5 07 2012

Give Seth Macfarlane a bunch of money, complete control, and freedom to say whatever he wants and what do you get? Ted, the creator of Family Guy’s first feature film about a boy who wished his stuffed bear would come to life and the magical adventure they go on as they grow up. Is it some of MacFarlane’s best work, or does it fall flat like the recent seasons of Family Guy?

So we all know what Ted is about, Bear is wished to life, lives with kid who wished him there, becomes vulgar and racist, and we all pay money to see things that are suppose to be a lot funnier because they are done by a Teddy Bear. For the most part this formula works and provides a film that is as funny as it is racist and offensive. The majority of the plot centers around Ted and his friend John, who after being buddies for life John (Mark Wahlberg) is extremely close to taking the next step with his girlfriend of 4 years Lori (Mila Kunis). It’s tough for John to really grow up having a best friend who is a Teddy Bear and ultimately it comes down to what he wants more, his friendship with Ted, or his relationship with Lori.

From here the film plays through the events as John moves closer to a decision with various events and actions that are completely over the top and hilarious, though sometimes falls flat. The technology used to bring Ted to life is very well done and at no time does the CGI or an actor’s performance make it obvious that they are talking to an object that isn’t really there. Ted comes off as very Peter Griffin in his voice, but his actions differ greatly as he is just a down and out former celebrity trying to hold onto the only thing he has left, his friendship with John. Wahlberg is hilarious as John, though his brightest scenes are obviously when he is with Ted and their ridiculous adventures. Mila Kunis is extremely likable in the film, yet she does not get many scenes to show off her comedic chops. When she is in the film it’s more of the concerned, scorned, or supportive role. Despite all of that she is in one of the funniest scenes in the entire film for me and he reaction along with Wahlberg’s is priceless.

The film has many highs here, raunchy yet well executed humor, many laugh out loud moments, great chemistry with all characters, and a plot that is easy to follow and never gets too out of hand. It’s certainly not all roses and rainbows however as I felt the film did suffer from a few flaws. I know some people may have issues with getting past the fact Ted sounds like Peter Griffin. In most cases a new character wants to establish a unique identity, not feel like an established character possessing a child’s toy. Also the movie seems to fall back on a lot of Macfarlane’s comfort zones for how he structures Family Guy. Jokes use flashbacks to execute their full extent of humor, the music he uses to transition from scene to scene feels like the same tunes he uses on his FOX TV shows. Alot of Macfarlane’s crutches are visible here and if they bother you on his shows they will bother you here. The saving grace for all of them is just how funny the film is entirely. They even find a new and hilarious use for a fart joke, one that is the most clever I have seen in a while.

If you need a film that just lets loose, has no boundries, and is just really funny Ted is your answer. It’s not only worth the full price of admission, I’m actually anxious to see it again. The only people who I can’t recommend this to are ones who are truly tapped out for Family Guy and it’s style of comedy, because that is what this film is structured on, just add a lot of raunchiness to it.

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