Ted is not just a movie by the creator of The Family Guy. It is amazingly a live action version of The Family Guy. Sure, the Griffins are nowhere to be seen, but the comedy style mimics that animated show quite a bit. And it translates rather well, resulting in a hilarious film that also has heart.
The movie stars Mark Wahlberg as John Bennet, who as a boy wished for his teddy bear to come to life. To the surprise of no one who’s seen the previews, his wish is granted in the form of Ted. Fast forward 20 years or so, and Ted is still hanging out with John, much to the chagrin of John’s girlfriend Lori, played by Mila Kunis. The plot focuses on Ted and John’s attempt to move on from one another at Lori’s behest. The movie teaches us though that “Thunder Buddies” are forever!
Seth Macfarlane was a bit lazy in his voicing of Ted because he sounds exactly like Peter Griffin. I would forgive most actors lending their voice to animated characters; however, we know he has more range given that he’s voiced several characters on The Family Guy. Despite this quibble, the titular character is a joy to watch. It’s just ridiculously fun watching a cute, cuddly teddy bear be so vulgar and abrasive. Ted is essentially like the Family Guy character Brian, the talking dog. He’s constantly high and drinking alcohol while somehow able to have intimate relationships with human women. The movie, like the animated show, wisely chooses to just accept Ted’s existence.
I was surprised how well the humor from The Family Guy translated to a live action feature film. For those who are not familiar with that television show, it is known for frequent cutaways or flashbacks to tangential scenes. Additionally, fans of the animated series will recall some of the random, overly long fist fights between Peter Griffin and the chicken. Yes, as the trailer suggests, something like that happens here. Flash Gordon fans should also be in for a treat for what I found to be the best part of the movie.
Mark Wahlberg holds his own against the teddy bear. Playing opposite an animated character requires complete commitment from the live actors. And he plays his character so earnestly that it helps the audience more readily accept Ted.
Ted is a great film debut for Seth Macfarlane. I am looking forward to future feature film productions from him.