‘Ted’ keeps the laughs coming
“Ted” is a raunchy, clever adult comedy that begins with a young, John Bennett (Wahlberg) who is an only child that lacks friends. His parents give him a teddy bear that immediately becomes his best friend. John makes a special wish for, Ted (MacFarlane) to be alive so he can be together forever. John’s wish comes true and, Ted springs to life as his perfect toy and companion. He and John grow up together, do drugs together, curse together and eventually need to go their separate ways in order for John to become the responsible adult that his girlfriend Lori (Kunis) knows he can be.
The first thing you notice is how lifelike Ted actually seems. There is a montage in the film that spans most of the youth of Ted and John. Once we arrive at the present day, you notice that Ted’s voice has gotten deeper over the years. Next you see that his fur is slightly dingy and matted as you would expect of a stuffed animal of his age. Finally, his intellect is that of a well-versed college dropout. Ted pays for female companionship and has no respect for John or Lori as he freeloads at their Boston apartment. He reminds me of those friends that were so much fun to hang around with in high school, but refused to face reality and learn responsibility. The kind of guy that you have so many great stories and memories with, but at the same time you wouldn’t invite him to your daughter’s sixth birthday party at the YMCA for fear of what the other parents would think of you afterwards.
Mark Wahlberg has come a long way since he left “The Funky Bunch” for a career in film. He has such a habitual facial expression that he is believable in the “bad boy” and “tough guy” roles. Wahlberg’s character portrayals have predominantly been action leads with only a few that broke this mold. Who knew he had a sense of humor? I think that Seth MacFarlane took a risk with casting him as John and it paid off. Mark Wahlberg’s acting and delivery got an easy half-dozen belly laughs out of me during the course of the movie. His emotions and facial expressions were so believable that I missed punchlines several times because I was still reeling from the previous joke or sight gag. My only hope is that he pursues this and accepts more parts as a comedic performer in the future. Several actors have tried to break out of their typecast shells and felt the backlash for it. I strongly believe that we will be seeing yet another side of Marky Mark from now on.
Like it or not, Seth MacFarlane is one of the greatest contributors to modern entertainment. He is known as the creator, writer and 90 percent of the voices for many hit television shows from “Family Guy” to “American Dad.” He is edgy, topical and pushes the boundaries of the viewers every bit as much as he does the censors. Seth also has a strong background in songwriting and is a connoisseur of Broadway musicals. He worked as an animator for Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network, Fox and even Disney. “Ted” is his first feature-length film and by the reactions of the screening audience at the premier, this is a much-welcomed next step in his amazing career. There was not one instance that I felt the movie could use a little something else. There were no moments when I thought that Ted was a computer generated image and not really alive. Most of all, there was not a minute that went by where I felt bored or even had a chance to get a refill on my pop. My attention was on the screen from start to finish. And every time that I thought to myself, “It would be so funny if they made Ted (blank)” it would happen. If the future holds anything that is even half as funny as “Ted,” I will be there on opening night.
Are you looking for a very adult-oriented night out? Do you feel the occasional need to see amazingly choreographed fight scenes involving stuffed animals and action stars? Did your spouse make you go see “Rock of Ages” last week and now it’s your turn to pick the movie? Well then you owe it to yourself to go see “Ted.” This is a comedic masterpiece in every aspect of the word. Every few years a movie comes out that is so original and funny that it becomes a staple in your DVD collection. I know this is a bold statement, but “Ted” might get bumped in front of my copy of “Super Troopers.”