Running Time: 106 mins. Rating: x Stars/5 Stars
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh, Jessica Barth, Aedin Mincks, Bill Smitrovich, Norah Jones, Sam J. Jones, Tom Skerritt, Ryan Reynolds, Bretton Manley
The incredibly talented writer-director-actor Seth MacFarlane goes where no comedy has ever gone before. Mixing CGI with human characters, MacFarlane–whose tv series “Family Guy” puts together a pair of teens, a cynical dog who is smarter than anyone else, and an evil baby plotting the eradication of his mother–brings a Teddy bear to life, one whose pre-life message “I love you” is virtually blown away by his foul mouth. Ted (voice of MacFarlane) may not be Harvey, the six-foot rabbit created for Mary Chase and who is currently playing on Broadway, but at about a foot and one-half he issues a barrage of words that make him a toy that few moms would give to their eight-year-olds. And unlike Harvey, he can pack a mean punch that would send the taller rabbit reeling.
The result is a furiously-paced, joke-filled, splendidly acted and written comedy that should make the public laugh their sides off and cause many a mom to bolt from the theater with kid in tow upon realizing that this is not a G-rated trip down memory lane when they themselves enjoyed a roomful of stuffed toys.
Structured like “South Park” with the added benefit of a large number of attractive human beings, TED is a movie that opens in Boston about twenty-five years back on a group of kids who celebrate Christmas by pummeling the local Jewish kid. John Bennett (Bretton Manley) may be a fellow Christian but he has no friends, which is why this unhappy lad is granted a wish on a special night that his stuffed Teddy could come to life and be with him forever.
Even in a city as sophisticated as Boston, a talking, walking Teddy bear becomes a celeb, appearing even on the Johnny Carson show (terrific editing places the animal in a chair chatting with Carson). But after his elongated fifteen minutes of fame, everyone moves on to the next novelty. Like a dog interfering with its human companion’s love life, Ted wants to be everywhere, affecting private moments between the 35-year-old John (Mark Wahlberg) and his long-term girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis).
MacFarlane peppers the story with Saturday Night Live-type sketches, including a look at a party finding John cloning John Travolta in a Saturday Night Fever disco dance; a meeting with Sam Jones, who starred in the 1980 film FLASH GORDON and who soon smashes through a wall into a Chinese man’s apartment in the middle of making a dinner of really fresh duck; a party showing Ted’s ability to attract a group of hookers, one of whom leaves poop on the floor; another party featuring a contest of downing shots; a romantic song by Norah Jones, who brings John up to the stage to sing, badly, of his love for Lori—who by now is ready to break things off as she cannot compete with Ted for John’s attentions. Lori would have no problem with men, as witness the long-term attempts by her rich boss, Rex (Joel McHale) to score with her.
Take a look at the chief poster used to market the movie and you’ll surmise that John and Ted, both laughing and drinking, have great rapport, able to find friendship out of their banter—both sporting pronounced New England accents in their speech. Giovanni Ribisi as Donny plays the villain, a man who cannot deny his rotund son (Aedin Mincks) anything, even going to the extreme of kidnapping and physically abusing Ted, principally after a furious car chase into Fenway Park. This is one solid comedy.
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