When it was announced that “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane was doing a movie I automatically assumed that it was going to be full of fart jokes, profanity, and lots of obscure pop culture references. I was, right, for the most part, but maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. TED is about John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his best friend in the whole world, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane, of course). As a boy, John wished one fateful night that his friend Ted could come alive and they could really be best friends. Having a walking, talking teddy bear is fine when you’re young I suppose, but having a pot-smoking, unemployed, couch-surfing teddy bear when you’re supposed to be a grown up, not so much.
John’s way-too-understanding girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis) endures his lack of ambition and the fact that he lives with a talking teddy bear admirably. But eventually even she gets fed up, and gives John an ultimatum: ditch Ted and grow up, or risk losing her. I’m all for couples working to stay together, but the things that Lori must put up with in a relationship with a man who doesn’t give much at all would probably put me over the edge at the 4 week mark, not the 4 year mark. Ultimately, it’s not anything that hasn’t been covered in a hundred other “man-child loses girl” movies in the age of Apatow, but don’t forget: there’s a teddy bear that says the F-word!
TED was funnier than I thought it was going to be for sure. It feels like most “Family Guy” detractors were eager to dismiss this as an episode of the show, only longer and with boobs, and to an extent, I agree. It’s sloppy, and there’s an over reliance on pop culture references and talking animal schtick, but there’s no denying that the movie works. Wahlberg might be one of the most underrated comic actors working today, and his chemistry with MacFarlane is certainly winning. Plus the movie benefits from a supporting cast that’s certainly willing to commit to their roles (including a couple of bit players who really give their all).
If you’re a fan of “Family Guy”, well, you’re probably not waiting on my say so to see the movie a month after it came out. But if you’re NOT a fan of “Family Guy”, you should give TED a chance anyway. THE GRADUATE it ain’t, but there were more laugh out loud moments than I anticipated. And any time you get an opportunity to use the FLASH GORDON soundtrack in a movie, well, you take it.