The creator of satirical animated TV show Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane makes his big screen directorial debut with Ted: a film about a boy who wishes his teddy bear to life. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Any parents about to rev up the Volvo should know that although this picture features a CGI stuffed toy it is a thoroughly adult affair…unless you’re happy for your younglings to be exposed to a teddy bear cavorting with an entourage of grimy hookers?
Mark Wahlberg plays John Bennett: the man who wished his childhood bear, Ted, to life; he now shares an apartment with him in Boston. Ted himself maybe physically plush but there’s nothing that cuddly about his personality. He smokes pot, gropes, swears, screws and, along with Wahlberg, has an unnatural obsession with the 1980 cult film Flash Gordon. Lori Collins (Mila Kunis) is the crass couple’s long-suffering third wheel; as John’s girlfriend she has to endure his puerile commitment-dodging antics and a bear in the bed whenever there is a thunder storm (they’re Thunder Buddies for life you know).
There’s a bit of an issue with reviewing this film in that many of the laughs are funny because they are in some way surprising, it would consequently be a bit cruel of me to spoil all the best bits. You’ll have to, and should, watch them for yourself. What I can tell you is that is a satisfying jaunt, that it showcases Wahlberg’s knack for comic timing and that none of the funniest bits are in the trailer. Surely a best case scenario for any comedy?
Referencing Airplane, lost 80s child-stars like Corey Feldman, Tiffany and the aforementioned Flash Gordon this is a film with its heart very much in the 80s; working the nostalgia angle at every opportunity. This isn’t per se a criticism but it does mean that younger audiences might miss out on a few of the more potent gags. There are plenty of current pop-culture references to temper this however and, in perhaps one of the most ingenious moves of the piece, they’ve managed to collar Patrick Stewart to do the narration. An impressive start for MacFarlane as a director as he effortlessly delivers an edgy, outrageous comedy. Ted is the bear that dares.
Helen has awarded Ted four Torches of Truth. The film is released in the first week of August.