Seth MacFarlane (director, writer, producer, star) has proven time and time and again that he is a comedic mastermind, and Ted is one more testament to this truth. Full of knee-slappers, the film covers the story of a thirty-five-year-old boy who just will not grow up…and his talking teddy bear. Mark Wahlberg co-stars in this comedy, along with Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, and Jessica Barth. The ensemble works well together and every joke hits, making for a winning comedy.
Thirty-five year old John Bennet (Wahlberg) has his ideal living arrangement in Boston, with his best friend and his girlfriend of four years. Ted (MacFarlane), the talking teddy bear who came into John’s life when the boy was eight, also loves the arrangement – he lives rent-free and can get into all kinds of mischief with his pal. Lori (Kunis), on the other hand, wants her boyfriend to grow up and has determined that the source of his immaturity is (you’ll never guess) his teddy bear. She demands that Ted move out and that John take their relationship seriously. John finds it hard to let go of being so close to his companion, and things get even more complicated when Ted’s stalker, Donny (Ribisi), wants to purchase the bear for his disturbing son to play with.
I’m in love with the casting for Ted; MacFarlane, Wahlberg, and Kunis all have fantastic chemistry. Although he’s interacting with a CGI Teddy Bear, Wahlberg pulls off the “best friend”-vibe splendidly. The conversation between John and Ted flows naturally, with both MacFarlane and Wahlberg showing their aptitude for their respective parts. Wahlberg portrays the contrasts in John very well. The audience can tell that he needs to grow up and get his life together, but his humor and sensitivity make it clear that his heart is in the right place. Kunis’ character is different from the stereotypical female-in-a-male-driven-comedy; Lori clearly loves John, but she is also goal-oriented and demands be treated right by him. Kunis does a great job at showing Lori’s torn emotions when she realizes she is unhappy with the way her relationship is going. During the film, the audience sees John and Lori during both happy times and arguments. In both circumstances, the writing and the acting is spot on.
The music is very unique in this film, with a couple original songs. Norah Jones and Seth MacFarlane co-wrote the opening number, “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” (Give it a listen!), and Walter Murphy composed the score. Some of the tracks in Murphy’s score have a jazzy swing to them, which feels appropriate for a MacFarlane film. The music is absolutely a pleasant surprise in Ted.
The script, acting, and music were all great in Ted, but the film wasn’t completely spectacular. Although I enjoyed MacFarlane’s performance, I couldn’t help but be bored by the fact that Ted had the same voice as Peter Griffin. I’m not sure why MacFarlane didn’t come up with a unique voice for Ted, but I was not a huge fan of his recycling. Overall, the biggest flaw I can find in this film is its predictability. There truly are no surprises in Ted; everything that you would expect to happen in a film like this does indeed. Despite these minor drawbacks, I’d call the movie a success.
I’ll come right out and say that I’m a huge fan of Seth MacFarlane. The man has a great sense of humor, he’s a talented voice actor, and a fantastic jazz artist. Ted has “Seth MacFarlane” written all over it, in the best way. Still, putting my bias aside, this film is hilarious and perfect for anyone in need of a good laugh.