Review: Ted / Cert: 15 / Directors: Seth Macfarlane / Screenplay: Seth Macfarlane / Starring: Seth Macfarlane, Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis / Released: November 26th
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Seth Macfarlane is one of the most important people in television and comedy over the last ten years. After building up an animation empire on TV, Macfarlane has turned his attention to live action filmmaking and the result is the best thing he has been involved with so far. Ted is simply hilarious and touching in all the right ways.
We begin with young John Bennett being given a teddy bear for Christmas one year and making a wish that the bear comes to life. To his surprise the next day the bear can speak and becomes a celebrity sensation. John and Ted grow up together and we join them later when Ted’s celebrity has faded and John is a 35 year old car rental agency employee who spends most of his time getting stoned with his teddy bear much to the annoyance of his girlfriend Lori who wishes John would grow up and leave his childhood friend to focus on more adult matters. Complicating things further is that a weird obsessive fan and his son are stalking Ted looking to make him one of the family.
It’s amazing how easily Macfarlane’s particular brand of comedy transfers into live action, obviously there are not the more elaborate gags found in Family Guy but a very similar style is in play. Critics of his formula will be pleased to note that there are only two of the flashback style sequences that seem to make up much of his animation output but they work so well in live action that you barely notice it’s his old shtick. There is also the fondness for the pop culture of the ‘80s that is present with an impressive and affectionate love of Flash Gordon and even featuring Sam Jones in a sequence which is simply hilarious. Apart from a couple of gross-out moments not much of Ted feels in bad taste and it’s surprising how well the emotional core of the story comes across. At its heart the film is about best friends having to move on when time and adulthood intrude and it’s something everyone can identify with.
Mark Wahlberg here continues his great streak of comic performances proving strangely enough that he is one of the most versatile A-listers working today. Macfarlane voicing Ted himself is perfect even though it’s Peter Griffin’s voice (which they make light of in one scene). The rest of the cast is populated by people you know and strange cameos that all have their moment to shine.
Ted is without doubt the comedy of the year, brilliantly written and performed and proof that Macfarlane is a major talent.
Extras: The Making of, Alternate Takes, Teddy Bear Scuffle, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel and Commentary track.