I’m not a Seth MacFarlane fan. Not Family Guy, not American Dad! and especially not The Cleveland Show. Maybe I just don’t get his humour. He seems like a nice enough guy from interviews I’ve seen and I certainly bear no ill will towards him, but I don’t find him particularly funny. That said, my curiosity got the better of me this afternoon. I went to the cinema to catch The Dark Knight Rises for a second time, but had a last-minute change of heart and plumped for Ted instead. The trailers hadn’t done a whole lot for me, but I like Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, and when I saw the names Giovanni Ribisi and Joel McHale pop up during the opening credits, I was convinced that I’d made a good decision. I’m still not sure what I felt about the film.
Here’s the thing; it is funny, in parts. It’s also painfully unoriginal in parts and even desperate in others. It follows a very similar theme to 90% of R-rated comedies released at the moment: boy loves girl, boy loves best friend, girl hates best friend. The only real difference is that the best friend is a talking teddy bear, and that the girl doesn’t really hate him, she’s just sick of the best friend making life harder (think Ed in Shaun of the Dead). It takes the cult hero cameos of I Love You, Man, the straight-faced-yet-inappropriate voiceover of Anchorman and the often-bizarre pop-culture references of MacFarlane’s other work and melds them together with what I’ve already highlighted as a derivative screenplay to result in an enjoyable but extremely predictable 100 minute or so.
The ending of the film is perhaps its worst moment. One of those where you say to yourself “Don’t do that, don’t do that, don’t do… Oh. They did it. That sucks.” Despite this, there are a lot of very funny moments. Giovanni Ribisi steals every scene he is in and when Marky Mark is allowed to be funny, he does a great job of it, just like he did in Date Night. Unfortunately, Wahlberg is also one of the problems. I don’t buy him, at 41, as a 35-year-old, and I certainly don’t buy him and 28-year-old Mila Kunis as a realistic couple at similar moments in their lives.
I don’t have a lot more to say about Ted, but I think if you’re a fan of MacFarlane’s work, you’ll probably love it. If not, it depends how much unoriginality you can tolerate.
P.S. Be prepared to be annoyed at everything who guffaws heartily in a “I get that joke because I know what drugs are” way at every weed joke in the movie. And there are a lot.