Seth MacFarlane’s particular brand of irreverent humor translates well to the big screen in this raucous summer flick. Fans of MacFarlane’s monolith comedy series Family Guy, American Dad, or The Cleveland Show will find the world of Ted just as filled with off-color topical references and random cutaway gags as any of his other works. The fairly predictable plot focuses on late-twenties burnout John (Mark Wahlberg), as he tries to balance his relationships with girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis), and Ted (voiced by MacFarlane), the teddy bear he wished to life as a child.
For a movie that could have relied heavily on teddy-bear sex humor and immature comedy, Ted has a surprisingly acerbic wit that makes the occasional use of such humor a little more forgivable. The film’s best moments often come from the fanatical friendship between John and his best friend, and some cameos from Sam Jones (Flash Gordon) and Ryan Reynolds had me laughing out loud. Wahlberg seems to have been typecast a bit for this role, but his delightful turn in Ted more than justifies it.
MacFarlane has stated that he wanted to take the CGI effects mastered by James Cameron and Ridley Scott and implement them to make a live-action comedy, and the results here are superb. Wahlberg’s performance meshes extremely well with Ted’s animations, as evidenced by an uproariously funny hotel room fight scene. In fact, it’s surprising at points how well MacFarlane’s humor translates from animation to live-action.
With any luck, other live-action comedies will look to Ted as an example of how to use animation effectively: not as a means for easily overblown humor, but as a way to add depth to a story by creating characters that are genuinely funny. MacFarlane’s obvious mastery of this concept is likely what has endeared his work to television fanatics all over the world, and its use in Ted is refreshing and welcome.
Anyone who’s familiar with MacFarlane’s other work and enjoyed it will love Ted. A strong showing from the cast, combined with a smart and witty script, make this film worth an evening out.
Rating: 4 out of 5