Review: TED (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review: TED (2012)

RATING: 3.5/5

Seth MacFarlane, best known for creating the long-running TV's animated sitcom, Family Guy, tries his hand on live-action feature for the first time with TED -- a high-concept raunchy comedy involving a man and a talking teddy bear. One can easily write this off as a flash-in-the-pan gimmick if the filmmaker fails to make it worthwhile in a feature-length movie, but MacFarlane is thankfully succeeds most of it.

As a young boy, John Bennett (Bretton Manley) is an unpopular kid who desperately hoping for a friend. He gets one, in the form of a teddy bear, from a Christmas present given by his parents (Ralph Garman, Alex Borstein). Then one night, he makes a wish that he hopes his beloved teddy bear he named him as Ted (voice of MacFarlane) to come to life. His wish is miraculously fulfilled. The next morning, he is surprised to find out Ted is a walking and talking being. Not long after, Ted becomes an instant media sensation. But all the popularity Ted is getting, he stays loyal to John and they vow that their friendship will stick forever no matter what.

Cut to the present, John is now a grown-up man (Mark Wahlberg) but still behaves like a irresponsible kid who adores Flash Gordon, getting high, and of course talking craps with Ted. He even has a beautiful girlfriend named Lori (Mila Kunis), in which he has been dating her for four years. But as time passes by, Lori wants him to be more mature and committed. She suggests that in order for their relationship to work out to the next level, Ted should move out. At first John hesitates to do such thing, but at the same time he can't afford to lose her because he loves her very much. Things goes well when Ted agrees to move out to a new apartment, while John and Lori can have wonderful moments together all by themselves. But John is not exactly ready to move on with his life. Each time Ted has something irresponsibly fun to do, he never fails to hook up John to do something stupid together. Eventually Lori finds out about this, and sick of John's immaturity. Meanwhile, a creepy dad named Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) and his chubby son, Robert (Aedin Mincks) desperately wants to own Ted so much they'll do anything to get him.

Blessed with a R-rating, the jokes are raunchy and offensive enough to keep the genre fans happy. That's not all, MacFarlane knows well how to delve into nostalgia. Here, he clearly shows a labor of love showcasing good old memories from the '80s pop-culture references -- including FLASH GORDON (1980) along with a worthy cameo appearance by Sam J. Jones himself; and a winking nod to ALIENS (you'll know it when you seen it). Pop-culture references of the yesteryears doesn't just stop there, as there are also current in-jokes MacFarlane manages to slot in during the course of the running time. Among them, his sarcastic remarks on Taylor Lautner and Brandon Routh (along with his 2006's heavily-criticized SUPERMAN RETURNS, of course) are downright funny.

Apart from MacFarlane's unique talent of comic timing, the movie is also blessed with an excellent cast. Mark Wahlberg plays his comedic role with great enthusiasm. He and Ted makes such a great pair together, even though Ted himself is just a CG creation. But thanks to McFarlane's splendid voice talent, Ted is a fun character to watch for and no doubt he's a scene-stealer all the way. Not only that, the filmmakers also goes the extra mile to make the CG-enhanced Ted looks convincing enough like a living thing. I must say the special effect is flawless and definitely Oscar-worthy. As Lori, Mila Kunis is equally good as a straight girl who wants nothing more than a sense of security from his loved one, while Giovanni Ribisi is downright creepy as a desperate dad who wants to get his son that talking teddy no matter what. Even a slew of playful cameos get to steal some limelight as well. Apart from Sam J. Jones, there's Norah Jones, Tom Skerritt and a surprise one from Ryan Reynolds. Last but not least, is Patrick Stewart, who is surprisingly playful enough being the sarcastic narrator of the movie.

Story-wise, Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild's script is more of a typical Hollywood farce. But given the unique credibility of MacFarlane, I'm supposed a lot of die-hard fans are expecting him to push beyond boundaries. Maybe that is like asking too much. Then again, for what it's worth, MacFarlane does a good job having fun around the strict formula.

Although there are some jokes tries too hard to be funny and a sentimental finale that feels kind of hollow, TED remains one of the most entertaining summer movies of the year.


Dan O. said...

Good review Casey. The idea of having a talking teddy bear, smoking pot and boning hookers, seems totally stupid but that’s just the point here! Everything is so stupid and raunchy, but MacFarlane puts his own, little witty spin on it that made me laugh more than I expected.

caseymoviemania said...

Yup, I agree with that. MacFarlane doesn't seems to lose his comedic touch translating from his "Family Guy" animated series to his first live-action feature :)