Sceptical to say the least; a film about a childhood wish of bringing a soft toy alive becoming not so dream-like when the teddy bear starts doing drugs and hanging out with hookers — Ted is surprisingly refreshing.
Voiced by Seth MacFarlane, Ted is the CGI-animated, walking, talking, stuffed companion of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg). After a shooting star grants John his wish to bring his Christmas present to life, so begins the duo’s adventure. Unlike typical fairytales however, Ted takes a uniquely comical look into the problems that arise from John and his teddy bear who are seemingly unable to detach themselves from one another. Even when John’s four-year relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis) is at stake.
It seems a bit of an American dream for both children and adults alike to bring their toys to life, but this film is no Toy Story. Seth MacFarlane (voice of Peter Griffin from American cartoon comedy, Family Guy) brings his boundary-pushing humour to a whole new level as the director of Ted. Not content with regular slapstick comedy, MacFarlane overloads Ted with his trademark potty-mouthed dialogues, and outrageous situations, as seen in his other work.
Exploring that all-too-familiar romance-versus-bromance plot, the storyline is fairly predictable and although told in a unique way, there is still that frequent sense of box-ticking: Romance? Check; Comedy? Check; Tragedy? Check; Car chase/action sequence? Check. The box-ticking list goes on. However, with a splattering of cameo’s from the likes of Ryan Reynolds, Tom Skerritt (Top Gun), Sam J. Jones (aka Flash Gordon), and Norah Jones, Ted brings a certain amount of star-quality to balance out the otherwise ludicrous concept.
Lori, John’s successful girlfriend, plays the victim of John and Ted’s bromance. Suffering John’s childish ways and inability to separate himself from his childhood toy, there is a slight undercurrent of subliminal messaging to the plot. Whether it is deliberate, or whether Seth MacFarlane accidentally has brought to our screens something almost inspired, compared to the usual array of post-puberty fantasy films; either way, the non-patronising format of delivery sets this film far apart in a genre where there are no obvious heroes; except a flaccid male and his foul-mouthed teddy bear.
Ted is well worth watching once, although due to its extreme sense of humour, it should come with a caution sticker: Warning – you may never look at soft toys in the same way again. A bit furry around the edges, and stuffed with absurdity, this is one Ted of a film.
Ted will be released in cinemas in the UK on 1st August 2012
Watch the trailer here