Ted
2012 Running time: 102 Certificate: 15 Rating: 4
Ted

Synopsis

In a comedy starring a CG hero who's less cuddly than he looks, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane tells the story of Johnny Bennett, an unpopular kid whose teddy bear magically comes to life. Ted becomes a star... but the world soon moves on, leaving Johnny (Mark Wahlberg) a grown-up nobody in a dead-end job and his once cuddly best friend a moth-eaten slacker who lives only to party. And after putting up with them both for four years, Johnny's girlfriend (Mila Kunis) is ready to throw the toys out. As writer, director and the voice of Ted, MacFarlane brings his distinctive tone and brutal sense of humour to a riot of sex, drugs and 80s nostalgia that'll knock the stuffing out of the PC brigade.

Director

  • Seth MacFarlane

Cast

  • Mark Wahlberg

  • Mila Kunis

  • Seth MacFarlane

  • Giovanni Ribisi

  • Joel McHale

Review

A stream of xenophobia, homophobia and misanthropy peppered with gags about cancer, 9/11, Lou Gehrig's disease and child obesity: this is not the banter of your average talking teddy.

But of course, Ted is no ordinary bear. He's the first movie brainchild of the chap who brought us sociopathic babies, alcoholic dogs, and friendly neighbourhood paedophiles in the satirical TV 'toons Family Guy and American Dad!

So prepare for Paddington meets Bad Santa as young misfit Johnny makes a wish and wakes up to find his beloved Ted is not just for Christmas but a living, breathing friend for life. But that's as far as the childhood fantasy movie conventions go.

Because instead of keeping the miracle a secret, Ted becomes a global celebrity: Time magazine, Johnny Carson Show, the works. As a sign of these fickle times, however, his fame soon fades away.

Now in adulthood, Johnny (Wahlberg) is punching time at a car rental firm while Ted is a boorish devil-may-care bear, filling his days with booze, bongs and bad girls. So life's actually not too bad.

Unfortunately, Johnny's long-suffering girlfriend Lori (Kunis) is getting tired of the Hasbro-mance. So when she and Johnny return home from their fourth anniversary dinner to be greeted by another example of Ted's debauchery, it's the stool that breaks the camel's back. Ted must go.

Since parting is hard, the boys are forced into skulduggery simply to keep their friendship going. Unlike that of Lori's sleazy boss (McHale) and a creepy stalker (Giovanni Ribisi), whose deviousness leaves all their relationships hanging by a thread.

As fans of MacFarlane's brand of equal opportunities offensiveness will know, any sentimentality is purely ironic. Cushioned in huggable whimsy, Ted is stuffed with spiky little parts that children - and those of a sensitive nature - could easily choke on. Naturally, those are the funniest bits.

Stretched to feature length, however, MacFarlane's gag-stream is a little stop-start as he dawdles over the generic romance between Johnny and Lori and draws out several scenes for the sake of a single punchline - or game-for-a-laugh cameo.

His obsession with 80s pop culture may also leave some demographics cold. But - as evinced by the film's most special guest - it does result in the odd Flash of genius.

And following Date Night and The Other Guys, it's great to see Wahlberg taking himself less seriously with age. It's no mean feat to pull off a convincing double act with a CG teddy - let alone a hotel-trashing fistfight. But he makes it look as easy as being booed off stage for bad singing.

As the voice of Family Guy's hard-to-love daughter Meg, Kunis is used to being the butt of MacFarlane's jokes. So good on her for taking a few more for the team as the straight man here.

And the star of show? Well, as voiced by MacFarlane, you could argue that Ted is just FG's hooched-up pooch Brian with more fur and less class. Maybe so, but he's still a riot.

From pioneering a novel interview technique to blaming Norah Jones for 9/11, profanity and prejudice have never come cuter.

And as a CG fit in a real, cruel world, he's practically seamless.

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