Director: Seth McFarlane.
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth McFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi.
Reviewed by Matt Neal.
SOMEONE mentioned recently that Ted was the funniest movie of year and I'd have to agree.
Mind you, that's not much to brag about. What's its competition? American Reunion? Adam Sandler's latest travesty? The Three Stooges remake? Prior to Ted, the funniest film of the year was The Avengers.
So congratulations Ted, you win.
Yes, Ted is funny. It's far from perfect, but fans of McFarlane's trademark comedy stylings - brash offensiveness mixed with esoteric pop culture references - will laugh a lot.
McFarlane not only wrote and directed Ted, but he also plays the titular plush toy through the power of motion-capture technology and his most Boston-like impersonation of Peter Griffin.
Ted has been wished to life by eight-year-old loner John Bennett and the film focuses on their relationship 27 years on, where John (played by Wahlberg) is now a 30-something who lives with his girlfriend Lori (Kunis), has a lame job and hangs out with a live teddy bear that likes to smoke bongs and hang out with strippers.
John and Ted's relationship puts strains on John and Lori's coupling, but will it lead to a "me or him" showdown?
Warning: this trailer contains quite a lot of swearing.
The film is essentially a foul-mouthed rom-com, driven by Lori and John's troubles, with a subplot tacked on about a weird Ted fan (Ribisi) wanting to purchase the anthropomorphic teddy from John. Don't expect any big plotting or character arcs, which is undoubtedly the film's biggest weakness.
It's biggest strength is obviously its title character. Representing all the immaturity that John is unable to let go of, Ted proves to be not only hilarious but also a wonderfully sympathetic character. Watching him in a fight or getting it on with a co-worker is as valuable for the film as his more touching moments with John and Lori, and the fact McFarlane manages to infuse the scant story with plenty of heart - something he's never managed to do with his show Family Guy - is a real bonus.
His approach to humour is scattershot though. His love of the '80s pop culture means we get gags about Diff'rent Strokes, Alf and Flying High that will go over younger audiences' heads mixed in with current pop culture references to Justin Beiber and Susan Boyle that will date quickly. A large part of the plot is indebted to the camp classic Flash Gordon, which will probably just leave most people confused.
When it's funny, it's hilarious. Wahlberg, long under-rated as a comedy player, is great as the lovable man-child, while Kunis' Lori is not too far removed from the sassy confident role she played in Friends With Benefits. Ribisi is, as usual, excellent as the creepy Donny and Ryan Reynolds has an hilarious uncredited cameo.
And as for McFarlane, Ted does sound a little too much like Peter Griffin, but at least he has the good sense to make a joke about it.
Funniest film of the year so far? Yes. Has it had much mainstream competition for that title? No.