Director: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Stroup, Joel McHale, Patrick Warburton, Laura Vandervoort, Melissa Ordway, Aedin Mincks
Runtime: 1 hr 46 mins
Rating: M18 (Coarse Language, Sexual Scenes and Drug Use)
Released By: UIP
Official Website: http://www.tedisreal.com/
Opening Day: 6 September 2012
Synopsis: Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane brings his boundary-pushing brand of humor to the big screen for the first time as writer, director and voice star of Ted. In the live action/CG-animated comedy, he tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish…and has refused to leave his side ever since.
There is really just one joke in Ted, and that’s the teddy bear that comes to life at the wish of a little boy one Christmas. Unfortunately, the teddy bear turns out to be the brazenly foul-mouthed Ted who also happens to have a penchant for sex, booze and weed. On paper, that sounds like a total farce, too self-aware in part and merely another exhausted effort to force innocent subjects to behave inappropriately for the benefit of our enjoyment. But what comes off Seth MacFarlane’s mind is far more spectacular than that single-joke premise would have you believe. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will remember Ted as one of the best movies this year.
Mark Wahlberg portrays John Bennett, a 35 year old who has been working boring shifts at a car rental company and dating the more ambitious and beautiful Lori (Mila Kunis) for 4 years. Lori wants John to get his life sorted out so that he can carry their relationship forward but John is tied to the unrelenting hedonistic influence of Ted, the teddy bear whom he promised to be best friends with forever after he made the special wish on that Christmas. Ted brings prostitutes into John’s home and interrupts John’s work to persuade him to go to a party but succeeds only in running the patience out of Lori. Out of options, Lori forces John to choose between her and Ted, and lots of break-ups, make-ups and mayhem happen before anything gets resolved.
If that sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. Which is why Seth MacFarlane is perfect for the material. The Family Guy creator is brave enough to grab an angelic symbol of childhood and morph it into a subject of his wildest R-rated humour almost shamelessly, proudly proclaiming that a cute, cuddly toy bear can have sex with someone legitimately even without a reproductive organ in one scene and confidently letting it shoot off politically incorrect lines the next. It’s a brand of puerile comedy that works not only because the film never wavers from taking itself less than seriously, but also because each hilarious piece feels meticulously crafted to fit into the larger comedic puzzle.
It’s at least a little bizarre then that this casual tone is a train for some really heartfelt statements that are expressed in the later parts of the film. Seth MacFarlane delivers an honest portrait of childhood friendship and draws some sincere conclusions between maturity and self-responsibility, and it’s all done in a very discreet and perfect harmony with the comedy. Despite the flippant start, events between John, Lori and Ted eventually turn sour. A later scene of a fight between John and Ted in a hotel room is shockingly raw and almost revolting, and the film only escalates in emotional levels after that. Without giving the plot away, suffice to say that you will more likely to be in tears than in mirth during the late portions.
Ted is an outstanding illustration of how a film can be so completely unserious and absolutely funny, yet sincerely thought-provoking and stirringly moving all at the same time. It’s an art of filmmaking that’s been largely unfounded and rarely utilised. As a parting shot, the film throws down a flurry of pop culture references to clear your tears and remind you that it’s a comedy, but sometimes the fact that a film has achieved more without actually realising it can be what makes it truly great.
(Completely unserious and absolutely funny, yet sincerely thought-provoking and stirringly moving all at the same time, Ted is one of the best movies to emerge in cinemas this year)
Review by Loh Yong Jian