Seth McFarlane has always had a unique ability to tap into what people of his own generation find funny. With Family Guy he gained legions of followers with his signature take on family life and pop culture. It was only a matter of time before McFarlane’s talents found their way to the big screen.
John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) was not a popular when he was a little kid. He was picked on, beat up, and had no friends. So when his parents bought him a talking teddy bear, it quickly became his best and only friend. One night while playing with ‘Ted’, John wishes the bear was real and much to his amazement, the next morning Ted (McFarlane) is a walking talking and thinking live teddy bear. The bear becomes big news around the world and continues to be John’s best friends right through adulthood. Now John is seeing a girl, Lori (Mila Kunis) and they want to take their relationship to the next level, but they can’t proceed as long as John is being immaturely influences by Ted. Mutually deciding that Ted must live on his own, none of them will find life the same with the friends separated and they must find a way to live that works for everyone involved.
I was pretty much expecting a rude joke fest with Ted, but not anticipating much more than that. I love McFarlane’s humor but based on the trailers, this seemed like it might be a gimmicky movie (you think?). But I was surprised that Ted, while it did have all of the rude humor, also had some great nostalgia and some pretty funny relationship humor as well. McFarlane is great as the voice of Ted, sounding very much like his own Peter Griffin from Family Guy, even making fun of that very fact in the film. But he does infuse Ted with real personality and you will find yourself in moments of realization during the movie when you find yourself engaged in what Ted is saying, then you realize you are engaged by a teddy bear. Wahlberg is excellent, showing he has a real penchant for funny roles. He has shown this a few times in the past, but Ted really solidifies him as comedy talent and I think we will see more of this side of him in the future. Mila Kunis is good here as well as the most grounded of the three main characters, and it is funny to watch her have serious heart to hearts with Wahlberg and the bear about their relationships. Somehow McFarlane makes it all work though.
The Blu-ray from Universal is what you would expect from a very nice studio release. The picture is nice and clear with great detail, and the fact that Ted is mostly CG is blended perfectly and almost never shows or distracts. I found myself confounded trying to tell the real from the CG it is that good. As with many comedies, this isn’t a ‘blow your mind’ kind of transfer, but it does perfectly convey the film as it should be. Funny and more intelligent than you may think it would be, Ted is great fun and highly recommended.
Available December 11, 2012 on Blu-ray and DVD.