Monday, July 2, 2012

TED Review- He Said

Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
Written by: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, Seth MacFarlane and Joel McHale
Synopsis: A man with a magical talking teddy bear as a best friend is forced to start actually acting like an adult.

I'm going to come out and say that I pretty much have a disdain for any Seth MacFarlane-produced cartoons. I enjoyed FAMILY GUY for a while, but I only attributed my liking to being drunk most of the time during college. So, if it wasn't for the fact that a few people whose taste I trust had given it their seal of approval, I wouldn't have been so eager to check TED out. What it boils down to, is whether you can dig some pretty crude humor. The comparisons to FAMILY GUY, I feel, are a little unfair because I actually laughed during this movie and it wasn't referencing STAR WARS all the time.

TED, as has been said elsewhere, is basically I LOVE YOU, MAN, but where Jason Segel's character is a cursing teddy bear. The story is a pretty good version of the now all-too-common story of a man-child, John (Walhberg), with an impossibly hot girlfriend, Lori (Kunis), who needs to grow up. Only problem is that his talking bear, Ted (MacFarlane), has been reinforcing his childish impulses for the past 27 years.  The element that drives this movie is true and genuine chemistry between all three of the leads. I really felt like all of these characters had known each other for a long period of time. And the type of, dare I say, tenderness between John and Lori was great. I pretty much believed it when he said that he loved her, and I saw why she would forgive him for messing up time and time again.

Ted, as a whole, really worked as a character for me. He is rendered so convincingly that I saw him as a person and not some weird gimmick. What I love is that during the intro, they explain that Ted was a big celebrity back in the day and then faded from the spotlight. When people talk to him, it just seems natural. I actually was more in disbelief over the fact that John and Ted were trying to smoke weed in the open park than I was about Ted being a believable character. I'm so glad that there was never this whole subplot of trying to keep Ted hidden away from everyone because a magical teddy bear would freak everyone out. As the stereotypical carefree best friend character, I was a little surprised at how mature Ted was. When the time comes for him to move out of John and Lori's place, he goes along with the plan even if he doesn't want to. And he actually talks some of the movie's more intelligent dialogue towards the end and is surprisingly self-aware of why he is the way he is.

The humor is definitely more on the raunchy side, but nothing new that you haven't seen from an R-rated comedy. For those that were worried that this would be a feature length FAMILY GUY movie, can rest assured that it's not. There are pop-culture references including the running gag of Ted and John's childhood FLASH GORDON obsession, but it's not over the top like the cartoons. I will say that the "cute teddy bear doing sexual stuff" joke got pretty old. By the time he squirts semen-like stuff on his face, I was pretty much over it. On the other hand, I do agree with @filmspotting that one of the greatest things that Mark Wahlberg has ever done was him naming off possible white trash names with some crazy rap-like speed. The movie does have a great stream of cameos and minor roles that I don't want to spoil but just come off as fun surprises.

The movie does have the disadvantage of having a pretty horrible third act. The movie gets away from the emotional core, and throws it away for a weird suspense/action sequence that feels like it's from a completely different movie. As I mentioned before, it does have a tendency of sticking to the structure of a buddy romantic comedy, but overall it ends up being a strong enough comedy. I believe that if you're willing to let go of the FAMILY GUY stigma that this movie brings, you'll have a decent enough time at the movie.

Oh and don't be an asshole like the family that brought some 5-7 years olds to the movie, this is really raunchy movie not at all intended for the young ins. Finally, since Jonesy won't be seeing the movie and we like to promote healthy movie discussion here at WDYMS, I wanted to link to my friend James McCormick's review of TED. You can find it if you go to the Criterion Cast web site here. From now on, we'll be trying to link to other critic's reviews whose opinions differ from ours to add a little something to the reviews. Let us know what y'all think.

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