Ted (7/1/12)

Movie One Hundred Fifty Three

Ted is a film about a boy that whose wish comes true that his stuffed teddy bear was his real friend…Even 25 years later.

One Christmas morning, young John Bennett opens up an adorable teddy bear as a gift and later wishes that Teddy was real so the two could be best friends. When he wakes up the next morning, he finds his wish came true, much to the horror of his parents. News of Ted sets the media world on fire, but he soon finds himself out of the limelight and Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) and John (Mark Wahlberg) are still best friends. John’s girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis), has come to grips with John and Ted’s friendship, but finds her own patience dwindling as John must learn to grow up.

It’s hard to write a plot synopsis about Ted without it sounding like a Hallmark channel special, but perhaps that is some of the magic behind the absolutely crass humor found in Ted. MacFarlane, best known for his animated TV series Family Guy, has been able to stretch his comedic legs and offer his unique sense of style and humor for a live-action full-length feature. For the most part, Ted works on a movie level and a comedic one.

I will be the first to admit that when I first heard about Ted I cringed and rolled my eyes thinking that it looked like a steaming pile. I figured that it would end up being a 90 minute Family Guy episode totally devoid of humor but tries really hard to nail it. While the film is unabashedly stupid, it uses that stupidity in a smart way. The style of humor isn’t for everyone, but it’s safe to say that you can set your notions of what to expect based on MacFarlane’s TV series aside. Ted is its own unique entity and is impressively funny and charming.

Two things that I didn’t think worked in Ted were the antagonists. Joel McHale plays Lori’s sexually harassing boss who continually tries to ask her out and the other is Giovanni Ribisi as a creepy guy that tries to steal/kidnap Ted. It’s hard to imagine the film without both antagonists, but in addition to the antagonistic breakdown of Lori and John’s relationship, it’s almost too much.

When I find a comedy worthwhile enough to see in the theater, I’m usually hugely impressed at the time but when I see it again on DVD I scratch my head and wonder why I thought the film was so funny. The verdict from future me is still out, but for now, I will say that Ted was a huge surprise that had my face hurting from laughter.

I give it 4 Flash Gordons out of 5.

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