Wednesday, July 4, 2012


It's great to see Seth McFarlane making the transition from the small screen to the big screen.    I have been a McFarlane fan for years now and was so happy that he was getting his directorial debut  with a movie called TED.  Who can resist a movie about a wise-ass talking teddy bear, to me it seemed like comedy gold.

TED follows the growing up of  a loner child called John Bennett who gets a teddy bear one Christmas.  On this day he makes a wish and wishes the bear to be real so they could be best friends forever.  Well to his amazement the next morning the bear is alive and talking.  This made John the happiest kid in the world.  The bear becomes famous and John has his one true best buddy forever.  Flash forward about 30 years.  John and TED are still best buds, living together, drinking together, smoking pot together, needless to say they do everything together.  John has a near dead end job at a car rental company just barely making ends meet.  He does have a charming girlfriend of 4 years who works as an ad executive in a major company in the city. She wants to John to become the man she knows he can be and gives him an ultimatum, the bear or her.  Thrown into the mix is this very creepy guy and his son who are trying to steal Ted for themselves.  Hi-jinx and hilarity ensure for pretty much the whole movie.

This film had me laughing from beginning till end and even shed a tear or two in the process.  There are a couple of scenes near the end that really pull on your heart strings and they were so well done that most of the theatre were shedding a few tears.  This film entertained the full theatre for the duration of the movie.  It was laugh upon laugh upon laugh and pretty much everything in the movie worked and was genuine.  The only thing that bothered me was the car chase scene near the end.  I felt that really didn't fit and took away a little from the movie at hand.  Though car chase scenes in comedies have always bothered me.  I don't know why they get thrown in there but they somehow do and it cheapens the almost near perfect R-rated comedy.

Seth McFarlane, a man people either despise or love.  The creator of shows like The Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, American Dad knows funny, but on the small screen that funny comes in small doses and maybe that's why it works.  Here he is tasked in writing, directing and starring in this 1 hour and 45 minute comedy about a talking teddy bear.  The one thing I was worried about with this film is how well his comedy style would hold up over a long period of time.  Well let me tell you, it holds up pretty damn well.  Jokes are hilarious and come one after the other and will have you roaring.  It is still the same style of humor  as in The Family Guy but it works.  Not only has McFarlane written a well crafted comedy he also has written a smart comedy that has a lot of heart.  There are serious moments in the movie which, oddly enough don't stall the movie or kill the comedy momentum, but they counter balance it and make the movie whole.  Seth has poured his heart and soul into this movie it seems and it shows on the screen.  From the side splitting laughing moments, to the moments that pull at your heart strings and bring out a tear or two or three.  This has it all and somehow McFarlane has  brought it all together into a movie that feels real.

Not a big fan of Mark Wahlberg but after Ted I have a lot more respect for him as an actor and this movie changed how I perceive him.  I have to admit he was amazing in Boogie Nights, that really made his acting career but really haven't enjoyed him in much else, especially Max Payne, and let's not forget about The Happening, but in Ted Wahlberg shows he can be a funny guy and his comedic timing is impeccable.  Seth really knew how to get a great performance out of Wahlberg and it shows.  You really believe the struggles his character the grown up John Bennett is going through from trying to do good at work, keeping friends with his talking teddy bear, to keeping the relationship he has with his girlfriend of 4 years Lori.  Walhberg makes you believe this friendship with the bear is real and you can see the bond shared by man and his teddy.  Because of this movie I have more respect for Walhberg as an actor and I see him more of a funny man than an action hero.  This is probably on of his best performances aside from Dirk in Boogie Nights.

Mila Kunis plays Lori Collins, the long time girl friend of Wahlberg's character John.  She wants a better life for John, and wants him to be a better person, and possibly a better boyfriend.  Though she does see one thing standing between them and a better relationship, a talking bear named Ted.  She knows they have been best buds for the last 30 years, but to her, and most of her friends, it's time for the bear to get a place of his own and let them have their own life, together.  I haven't really been a big fan of Kunis.  I really don't think she's that great of an actress and I always felt that she didn't have great comic timing as well as delivery.  In Ted, it's almost a different story.  She still seems like she plays the same character she always does and nothing really has changed in her ability, but for some reason she plays very well off of Wahlberg and McFarlane.  When all three are on screen she really shines, even in scenes with Wahlberg there is a hint of a good actress in there.  In this movie she isn't terrible, which is an improvement over her previous works.  I'm sure she's a lovely person outside of the acting world, but at least in Ted she is starting to shine.

There are so many great pop culture references in this movie, but none stand out as much as FLASH GORDON, saviour of the Universe!  This reference goes so deep that they even have SAM JONES in the movie, in an absolutely hilarious party scene.  SAM JONES!  THE FLASH GORDON!  I felt that my fiance and I were the only two in the theatre that were getting The Flash Gordon references.  I think we were actually in the theatre where no one else knew what that movie was.  Thank you Seth McFarlane with going out and bringing Flash back into popular cinema!

The effects for Ted were top notch.  You really believe there is a living breathing, talking teddy bear on screen and not a puppet or CG bear.  The creators did a great job with creating this character and having it act on screen.  With the budget they had it must have been movie magic that brought this bear to life.  Throughout the whole movie the animated bear blended seamlessly into the live action world of Ted and interacted with the human counterparts perfectly.

Walter Murphy is back as Seth McFarlane's go to guy for music.  He does the music for Seth's cartoon shows and really captures the style for the movie.  The music in the movie resembles his work on The Family Guy.  Whimsical, fun, 80's style TV sitcom music and let me tell you it works well.  Gives  the movie a real fun feeling, but in the darker scenes near the end it becomes sad and dark and really pulls out emotion.  Walter Murphy is a very talented composer and knows what works with scenes.

If there is one award that should be awarded it should be for Most Creepiest Creep played by Giovanni Ribisi.  He plays a father named Donni and let me tell you, he is one creepy dude.  Especially in one dance number later on in the movie.  Always have been a fan of Ribisi and he sure puts on a show in Ted.

Overall this film is one funny movie, not only just a funny movie, but a movie with heart.  Seth McFarlane has made his big screen debut and knocked it out of the park.  This will keep people laughing long after the lights go down.  One word of caution though, if you do offend easily this may not be the movie for you, because it does get offensive.

I give his movie 4 stars out of 5.  I wanted to give it 5 but the car chase didn't work for me, and Kunis, even though she stepped up her game, just didn't bring it all home.  A completely enjoyable movie, that will make you laugh and shed a tear.  You won't be sorry you went to see this talking bear feature.

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