Review in a Hurry: Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane delivers his first live-action feature starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and a computer-generated talking teddy bear that’s just as foul-mouthed as the characters on MacFarlane’s shows So much of the film reminds us of those animated sitcoms that after the initial fun has run its course, the rest of the plot wears thin.
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The Bigger Picture: Decades after he was brought to life by a young boy’s wish, Ted’s (MacFarlane) “it” factor has long worn off. In the film’s universe, people accept a real talking teddy bear (or dog, or fish) pretty quickly and move on.
Ted’s best bud is 35-year-old John (Wahlberg) a slacker whose only real dream was wishing for his furry friend as a kid. Presently, he’s a rental car clerk spending his days getting high with Ted and watching TV. Somehow—even more unbelievable than Ted’s very existence—John has a successful and gorgeous girlfriend (Kunis). But even a gal as charming and cool as Kunis is no match for bro time.
The stunted adolescence theme could easily be mistaken for run-of-the-mill Judd Apatow if not for Ted who supplies the majority of the film’s laughs. Yes, he’s pretty much Peter Griffin as a toy bear, but the script is smart enough to call attention to this. A fight between John and Ted in a sleazy hotel is like a live action version of Peter Griffin’s many brawls with a certain man-sized chicken on Family Guy.
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What works best is Ted pontificating on life, women, and pop culture. No one is safe from his snark. Sorry, Katy Perry.
Fans of Family Guy will find a lot—maybe even too much—of familiar material. The use of flashbacks to add an extra punchline is in full force, but usually underwhelms. Most of the supporting cast are regulars on MacFarlane’s shows, including American Dad‘s Patrick Stewart who is the unseen but very opinionated narrator.
Ted is worth seeing, but it’s not quite the water cooler flick it aspires to be. Or maybe it was months ago as a trailer. But as Ted knows, the novelty wears off, eventually.
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The 180—a Second Opinion: As fun and silly as the flick is, it occasionally goes too far and drags, notably with Giovonni Ribisi‘s subplot. His spoiled kid wants Ted for himself, which leads to car chases and other unnecessary dumb moments.
(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal Family.)
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