Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quick Blurb Review: Ted

Okay, brushing off some rust on this one, but here we go. Seth MacFarlane & I go way back. Not in the sense that I've known the guy since I was a pre-schooler and I'm jealous that he hasn't used his fame and success to bail me out of my financial woes, but I remember being glued to the TV when Family Guy first aired back in 1999. At the time, it was the best fucking show ever and I couldn't get enough of it. Then, after three seasons and multiple time slot changes, Family Guy got the axe. Sure, the DVDs came out later, but it wasn't enough. Then when Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story hit DVD, there was enough of an interest remaining in the series that Fox actually brought it back from cancellation. The first few returning seasons were really good and it still felt like Family Guy. However, the jokes became less "ha ha" funny and more "what demographic can we piss off this week" funny, and I do use the term "funny" very loosely. Seth launched a couple of other shows that went down a similar path, American Dad (started off good, turned sour pretty quick) and the Sunday night abomination that is The Cleavland Show, which I'd rather not discuss. Suffice to say, I haven't given Seth's TV project much of a chance, but when I saw the trailers for Ted, I said, "Okay, this could go either way."

Seth MacFarlane voices the titular character of Ted, using the Peter Griffin voice from Family Guy.

Okay, the plot is as followed. When social outcast John Bennett gets a teddy bear for Christmas, he makes a wish that his bear could really talk other than the pre-recorded "I Love You" it says. Being a child's wish of Christmas, it comes true, because as narrator Patrick Stewart (yes, that Patrick Stewart) explains, "There is no greater power than a child's Christmas wish...except for an Apache helicopter. That has both missiles and machine guns and is a well oiled instrument of death." So Ted comes to life and becomes a national sensation for awhile then fades into obscurity, because again, as Patrick Stewart says, "Whether you're Madonna, Prince, or Justin Beiber, after awhile, nobody simply gives a shit." Suffice to say, Patrick Stewart's narration is one of the best parts of this movie and when John grows up (Mark Wahlberg), so does his teddy bear. John and Ted live together with John's girlfriend Lori Collins (Mila Kunis), but after four years together, Lori wants to take their relationship to the next step but feels that Ted's presence is preventing this from happening.

The infamous "Thunder Buddies" song.

There weren't a lot of things about this movie that I didn't like, to tell the truth. Some parts of the movie do feel like an extended episode of Family Guy with some cut away gags and musical placements, and when Ted busted out the Stewie voice while making fun of the fish at the aquarium, I was afraid that Seth was going to keep visiting the FG well to the point that it would become tiresome. Thankfully, all we get is a couple of false alarms and I felt for the most part that Ted was it's own project, not just something Seth did to cash in on the success of his various television projects. A few plot points become predictable involving John & Lori's relationship with Ted pulling a couple ballsy moves for their sake, but what movie doesn't predictable elements? There are, however, a few moments in the film that do take it to a dark and damn creepy place involving a couple fans of Ted's (Giovanni Ribisi and Aedin Mincks) that I cannot thank the trailers enough for NOT showing. For the first little bit of the movie, I was afraid that since I'd seen both the green and red-band trailers that there'd be nothing left to see for the rest of the movie (*cough*Zombieland*cough), but I was proven wrong.

Mark Wahlberg deserves some sort of recognition for being able to do the "speed round" bit as well as he did.

So, the final verdict? I was a little gun-shy going into Ted but kept an open mind about it. Seth MacFarlane, for the most part, relied on the old Family Guy style humor as opposed to the new Family Guy style humor and I think it paid off. Ted was funny, raunchy, and in some parts, heartfelt and creepy with great performances all around. Is it going to win any awards? Eh, probably not, but I'm not some pretentious git that relies on awards to warrant recommend a film to someone. Ted wasn't the slanderous, step-on-the-toes-of-any-demographic-for-the-sake-of-doing-so film that I was afraid it could've been and I enjoyed it. However, Universal wants to get a sequel to this film going, which I'm not so sure if they should. Sure, Ted was good and I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if it's enjoyable to the point where they can't leave well enough alone.

-The Cynic

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