"Fuck you, thunder! You can suck my dick! You can't get me, thunder, 'cause you're just God's farts!"
Ted is a 2012 movie by Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy. The story begins in 1985: when all the other Boston kids get NESs for Christmas, John Bennett wishes only for a friend. His wish comes true overnight, and the teddy bear he received from Santa Claus comes to life. Fast forward 27 years, and that bear has an attitude. His lifestyle of sex1, drugs, alcohol and wild parties is starting to put a crimp on the relationship between John and his girlfriend of four years, Lori. Chuck in a sleazy douchebag of a boss who wants Lori for himself, and a man and his son who are attempting to stalk and kidnap Ted, and that's pretty much the story. Oh, and Flash Gordon makes an appearance and does tequila shots.
Spoilers start here. Get out while you still can.
Alright. It's pretty clear from all the synopses out there that the film is all about the familiar idea of best friends vs. a relationship. Any sane guy picks the girl and tells his bro "Dude, I'mma just need a little space with <insert chick's name here>, but don't worry, we be hangin' like we always do" (yeah... I'm decidedly NOT a bro). It's also pretty clear from the trailers and posters that it's about a talking teddy bear. Obviously, there's a bit of surrealism in this thing. Ted became a celebrity overnight, then got lost in obscurity and turned to hedonism for a lifestyle. Roped his best mate into it and suddenly you've got a relationship on the rocks. Seen it before, except this time we're talking about an anthropomorphic stuffed animal. Hollywood has definitely not changed much.
Cards on table: on the whole, I liked Ted. It kept me laughing, it kept me entertained, and a couple of times, kept me guessing. Having said that, there were several drawbacks. Throughout the entire wild party that Ted throws as a housewarming, I knew - KNEW - that John would get into deep shit when Lori found out, and she would find out. The entire rest of the scene dragged on as I waited and waited for Lori to turn up. That was probably one of the most drawn-out scenes in the whole film - I wasn't particularly impressed by it. I also wasn't impressed by some of the humour that MacFarlane employed - at one point, Ted says to an Indian woman "Thanks for 9/11" and I winced. I'm told that this is MacFarlane's way of pushing the boundaries, and that this sort of humour is particularly rife in Family Guy - MacFarlane's other claim to fame. That makes sense - I've seen a little bit of Family Guy, and I have to admit, Ted does feel like a stripped-down version of Family Guy2.
Not only that scene, but unfortunately some of the jokes were a little predictable as well. Early in the film, for example, the film makes a joke early on about Christmas being a time for "all the other neighbourhood kids beating up the Jewish kids", or something to that effect. When John walks past, every one of those kids says "get lost" to him, then the kid who's being beaten up says "get lost" as well, then the beating continues. Obvious joke was obvious. Sorry, but I'm not going to laugh at that one - not because it's offensive, but because it's been done to death. There were more than a few of those gags scattered through the film, but thankfully, they were only scattered, and there were a few good gags as well. Thankfully, I didn't hear a single "yo mumma" joke. I also didn't see the final joke from Fenway Park3 coming, as I was expecting the whole scene to be as bittersweet as possible.
And on that note: if there's three things I love about a movie, they are a good stream of consciousness, a good humourous twist (think Spaceballs), and a good unexpected ending. I was willing the ending to be bittersweet - John and Lori make up but Ted reverts back to a regular teddy bear - but alas, Lori had to make that final wish. I guess it brings the "moral" of the story together and everyone lives happily ever after, but seriously, I've seen enough happily ever afters. I'm not seven any more, I'm 22 and I want to see something fresh come out of Hollywood (and there's that bitterness about Hollywood again...) But I digress.
Alright, I've been snarky enough. There were quite a few positives to this movie. The titular character was funny (though he had to throw in a possibly-way-too-self-promoting Peter Griffin reference). The idea of Thunder Buddies was a good one. Mila Kunis played a good pissed-off girlfriend. Mark Wahlberg played a good buddy torn between his best friend and his girlfriend. Joel McHale played a good arsehole. The whole movie seemed to remind me of my own childhood teddy bears, and reminded people that you're never too old for a stuffed toy. (Hell, I still collect owls.) Yes, it had a Peter Pan feel to it, but it was Peter Pan who owned a bong-smoking teddy bear and that made it just different and funny enough to laugh at. Oh, and Sam J. Jones makes an appearance and marries John and Lori at the end.
Do not watch if easily offended, or you hate Family Guy and all it stands for, otherwise it's not too bad. Rotten Tomatoes has given it 6.5/10 so far, and I agree with it.
1 Well, as close as you can come to sex as possible... if you're a teddy bear, and hence, no penis. Yes, this was lampshaded.
2 Ted is also linear and doesn't resort to a myriad flashbacks, which undoubtedly makes it easier to follow than any given Quentin Tarantino flick.
3 At least, I assume it was Fenway Park... the film didn't seem to move away from Boston from '85 to '12, unless my knowledge of US geography is lacking. Which, being an Australian, it probably is.