Seth MacFarlane's "Ted" Stuffed With Laughs
Release Date: June 29, 2012
· Seth MacFarlane
· Mark Wahlberg
· Mila Kunis
· Seth MacFarlane
· Joel McHale
· Giovanni Ribisi
· Patrick Warburton
· Visit the official movie website for more!
Movie Review: Ted
by Jeff Ritter
Published: July 1, 2012
In the rich history of American cinema, there has not been a more poignant, moving, or thought-provoking film in the last 20 years than "Ted." This masterpiece, lovingly crafted by the master auteur Seth MacFarlane, is a finely woven tapestry depicting the human condition, interlaced with tender pathos and insightful social commentary. Mark Wahlberg should clear a place on his mantel for the Best Actor Oscar that will surely come his way next year. There has not been a more important film since "Schindler's List."
Ah, I'm just yanking your chain. But "Ted" is pretty freakin' sweet.
Mark Wahlberg plays John Bennett, who as a child makes a Christmas wish that comes true. When he wakes the next morning, he finds that his new teddy bear is alive. Fast forward almost twenty years and the novelty of the living toy has worn off. People treat Ted (Seth MacFarlane, in his Peter Griffin voice with perhaps a tad more of a Boston accent) as a former celebrity which Ted has a difficult time dealing with. To make matters worse, John has reached a crossroads in his life -- cling to his childish man-boy ways or mature a little and marry the girl of his dreams, Laura (the lovely Mila Kunis). As John fights to save his relationship, Ted finds himself the target of a kidnap attempt by a creepy obsessed fan, played by Giovanni Ribisi.
The supporting cast includes several alumni of Seth MacFarlane shows, including Patrick Stewart as the hilarious narrator, Alex Borstein as young John's mother, and Patrick Warburton as John's colleague at the office. Joel McHale of NBC's Community plays Laura's jerk boss and John's rival for her affections. I would have liked a bit more of Warburton, whom I've been a huge fan of since he starred in the underappreciated superhero series, The Tick. Much like on MacFarlane's animated programs, there are even a few surprise guest stars, including Norah Jones, Tom Skerritt, Ryan Reynolds and the legend himself, Sam J. Jones. Don't worry if you don't recognize that name, go see the movie and all will be explained.
The vulgar humor and the silly premise mask some technical skill in this picture. Ted is very well animated and perhaps even better integrated in any scene. His body language and his simplistic facial expressions -- he is a teddy bear, after all -- help make this plush toy feel more real. Perhaps that's how Ryan Reynolds got involved with this project -- his "Green Lantern" franchise needs all the help it can get in the special effects department. I also want to point out how challenging it is for an actor to play off of someone who really isn't there. Be it "Star Wars" CGI aliens or an animated cartoon character like Roger Rabbit, I have a lot of respect for any actor who can truly act with a visual queue for a costar rather than just reciting the script and having their director and editor try to turn that mess into something in post production. Most of all, I applaud Seth MacFarlane for not making Ted a figment of John's imagination. I had worried that John might be the only one who could see him. That would ultimately have been more disturbing than funny.
"Ted" isn't anything more than a funny two-hour diversion from summer heat and workaday problems. That should make the majority of the movie-going public perfectly happy. Of course, as I stood around the theater lobby after the press screening I heard the so-called "professional" film critics (meaning they get paid to moan about movies they either don't get or had no intention of liking in the first place) calling it "meaningless" or "merely an extended, uncensored episode of Family Guy" through stifled yawns. These were the same people who praised Kristen Stewart for "Snow White and the Huntsman," which was barely tolerable. One hipster woman called it a "dick flick," which I find offensive. Nobody categorizes movies aimed primarily at a female audience after any of their body parts, not even lesbian porn. Don't start none, won't be none, sister. Giggity-giggity.