Rarely do you get to go to the cinema and laugh as hard, or as frequently, as I did when I saw Seth MacFarlane’s pant-wettingly good Ted. Already a massive fan of his bizarre yet brilliant Family Guy (previously cancelled twice by Fox), American Dad! and more recent The Cleveland Show, I couldn’t wait to see what new satirical and outrageous jokes he could dream up in his first full-length feature. Could he get away with his less-than-fluffy jokes without hiding behind cartoons? Well, I’m not sure. But who cares?
Television’s highest paid writer and producer, MacFarlane already has a huge following of dedicated fans and has demonstrated his variety of talents with various acting parts, big show tunes, and voicing an array of characters including Peter and Stewie Griffin. After all this success, including creating brilliant episodes about a dog that gets addicted to cocaine, a perverted neighbour who constantly tries to abuse young boys and a sex pest who will hump anything and everything, legal or not, it begs the question, where do you go from there?
Ted takes on a fairly basic bromance format, with two best friends John and Ted. John (Mark Wahlberg) is a handsome, yet unsuccessful pothead with an inexplicably intelligent and gorgeous girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis). Ted (MacFarlane), however, is a teddy bear. As a small and lonely child, John wishes for his bear to be real and he magically comes to life. Almost thirty years later they’re still hanging out, have a shared fear of thunder (you’ll enjoy the Thunder Buddies song), a penchant for getting high and watching Flash Gordon. The first time this CG technology has been used in a comedy film, Seth acts out the scenes as Ted with motion sensors and other technology things I don’t understand. If you YouTube carefully, he does the cash register scene. This alone is internet gold.
We soon realise that John’s girlfriend needs him to step up and asks him to get Ted to move out and find a job. Admittedly, if I came home to find a human shit on my floor from a game of truth or dare with prostitutes I can’t say I’d be best pleased. After all, I do have my limits. Mila Kunis plays the girlfriend with good conviction and also offers some great humour and grownup touches. She also makes the female audience hate themselves as she is proof that you CAN have a sense of humour and amazing looks. Thanks Mila, the rest of us really are screwed.
More importantly, this film made me realise something about Mark ‘Marky Mark’ Wahlberg. I keep forgetting that he is actually a good actor, with two Oscar nominations behind him. He doesn’t seem to take himself seriously (thank god, because he has done some unforgivable films) and shows he can hold his own in a comedy with a great performance in The Other Guys. He seems completely unashamed and totally into his character-including busting some moves on the dancefloor, rolling off slutty names and generally being a typical Boston guy. From having a best friend from Boston, I can’t tell you how good the orgasm imitation scene is. Trust me.
MacFarlane is known for offending, and does so in such a way in the film that you laugh and gasp at the same time, hating yourself a little bit and then laughing some more. Does he cross the line? Of course. And yet…the laughs. And laughing there is aplenty, aided by sex jokes, the real Flash Gordon, drugs and some dubious dance moves from a psychopath father played by Giovanni Ribisi.
Ultimately, the character played by Ribisi and his son are perhaps unnecessary (they want Ted for themselves), but they provide a hook for the heartstring moments and a lesson to be learnt. Or something equally meaningful that I may have missed from laughing too hard and seeing a teddy bear hump a cash register. So, are you looking for something arty and thought provoking? No, this isn’t for you. Want and hour and fifty-five minutes of hernia-style laughing and inappropriate jokes? Yes, please find your way to a cinema immediately.