Take a boy and his bear story and make it adult; over to Seth McFarlane then. The Family Guy – guy, brings his customary style of adult, referencing humour to his big screen entry.
As a youngster Mark Wahlberg’s, John Bennett is not a popular kid, so when he receives a teddy bear for Christmas 1985 he wishes Ted to come to life and be a fur-real friend, as a shooting star passes, John gets his wish and so Ted comes to life and becomes a celebrity, but not for long; Patrick Stewart’s brilliant early narration saying it best “No matter how big a splash you make in this world whether you’re Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, Justin Bieber or a talking teddy bear, eventually, nobody gives a shit”
And so in adulthood we see John and Ted as thirty something dossers in their present day Boston pot-den flat, John is a car rental worker and Ted, well – is a teddy bear.
Girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) isn’t such as loser, the grown up, caught up in a bear love triangle waiting for her own cuddly bear to grow up, leading to the ultimatum, kick stoner Ted into touch!
With McFarlane’s previous talking baby and talking dog creations, fantastical believability of Ted can safely be put down to nothing more than a boys wish, or perhaps a miracle as both John’s parents profess, and too a TV evangelical “look what Jesus did, look what Jesus did” – the first of many in-jokes and pointed joshing, synonymous with McFarlane. Everyone’s a target.
The crude and relentless referencing gets tired quick, but are teddy-bear patched over with some memorable one-liners, pranks and a multitude of cameos; the best with Sam J. Jones as himself, an elderly ultimate flashy-party fiend and a queen like Ryan Reynolds.
Ted is not without heart and perils either when a hilarious bear-napping subplot is thrown in with the always brilliant Giovanni Ribisi as the Tiffany loving Dad, intent on using Ted for his son’s playtime.
Wahlberg is as good as has become expected in comedy, often more comfortable in delivering tongue in cheek gags, much in the same way as The Other Guys and here most hilarious when playing for straight faced gags and Ted is a neat creation of subtle and appropriate fluffy CG and McFarlane’s Peter ‘Griffiny’ tones, another wincingly referenced joke, that doesn’t quite pay off.
With much referencing of 80’s and 90’s pop culture and the ribbing of the rich and famous, Ted often feels more like a reminiscing McFarlane personal statement, too reliant on repeating the same gags while creating a likeable but hackneyed fluffy character not to distantly related from the Griffin household, but the most effective cracks we have come to expect from McFarlane still manage to rap the funny bone in the most.
Hit and miss, but still worth a look, 7/10