Nov 26, 2012

[Movies] Ted (2012)

There's a quirk I've noticed in Woody Allen movies - no matter which chracter is speaking, they ultimately sound like, well, Woody Allen. And that's partly to be expected given he tends to contribute to the writing in one way or another and thus this will inevitably shape the nature of the characters.

In Ted, the debut feature with writer / director / producer Seth MacFarlane at the helm, there's a bit of this quirk as well. Of course you get to replace "Woody Allen" with "Seth MacFarlane" in this instance, which is a litle weird given some of the actors involved.

I missed out on this movie when it was still in theaters but finally got to catch it on home video while visiting family in Singapore last week. And while I did want to watch the movie, it wasn't quite as high on my priority list as other movies and hence the delay.

On the whole there's a lot to be enjoyed about the movie - provided you're of legal age of course.

Synopsis: Ted is a 2012 comedy directed, co-produced and co-written by Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame. Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild also contributed to the screenplay.

As helpfully narrated by Patrick Stewart, we meet young outcast John Bennett (Bretton Manley) who has no friends and is afraid of a lot of things, including the sound of thunder. After receiving a rather large teddy bear for Chistmas, he makes a wish for his doll to be able to talk so he can finally have a friend. The next day his wish comes true and Ted (Zane Cowans) comes to life, much to the surprise of John's parents. Ted goes on to become a bit of a celebrity given his unusual nature, getting as far as appearing on Carson show.

Fast-forward almost 30 years to the present day of 2012 and John (Mark Wahlberg) remains staunch best friends with Ted (Seth MacFarlane). But as is the way of one-time celebrities, Ted is rather uncouth and regularly indulges in alcohol and weed together with John. Seriously, there's hardly a scene where either character is not under the influence of some mind-altering substance. Thus John remains stuck as a clerk at a car rental shop and his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) has been waiting for a wedding proposal from John for 4 years now.

The bulk of the humor naturally centers around Ted himself, since this is quite literally Seth MacFarlane talking. His witty deadpan delivery of zinger after zinger all in a distinct Boston accept makes for a lot of good laughs, no matter how foul the joke or how bizarre the situation around them happens to be. It doesn't matter if Ted is surrounded by prostitutes or has managed to get the Same Jones from the 1980's Flash Gordon movie to show up at a party, Ted just keeps going at it. And John seems all but helpless to be dragged along in his wake since he truly values their friendship as "Thunder Buddies".

And that's the core source of conflict of course - whether or not John can truly "grow up" and get past his juvenile behavior and start to commit to the more important things in life. This means the prospect of taking on more responsibilities at work (instead of slacking off with Ted) and of course making a clear decision regarding this relationship with Lori.

There are a few items in the movie that leave me scratching my head, but they're minor quibbles at best. I'm talking about weird stuff like why Ted never seems to get overly dirty despite walking around everywhere, why he can seem supernaturally strong one moment and then just another stuffed animal the next and who the heck sells a talking teddy bear weed? But this is a comedy with a talking bear at its heart, so of course we have to suspend such logical considerations even when they seem to break the internal logic of this movie universe.

Seth MacFarlane humor is definitely a unique brand of its own and if you don't like that sort of thing, then you're probably not going to enjoy the movie. But if you do have an apprecation for his other works, then this movie is going to be quite the hit for you, I'm sure. And to be fair, the kind of banter that this writing calls for is not easy to manage on-screen and one has to give credit to Mark Wahlberg for managing to pull it off, especially since most of his scenes were shot with him not having anyone to talk to given Ted is a CGI construct.

Ted is a new kind of comedy wrapped in a number of story cliches. And yet the way the movie was approached keeps things rather fresh and interesting and thus it's still quite the enjoyable trip. So the movie still rates 4 fascinatingly horrible things that Ted says out of 5.

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  1. Reading the plot lines, I see that this one is gonna knock the watchers of their seat laughing.

  2. The movie was definitely successful during its theater run, hehe

  3. My husband and I have watched this film, it's extremely funny and hilarious.

  4. My best friend and I had just exchanged Viber messages of what movie to watch this coming Sunday - after an expected tiring Saturday in Antipolo for a swim. Now we will definitely watch this as we're both ickie tired of watching Mean Girls, Easy A and Tinkerbell? LOL! We need something funny and this should be it. Plus, Mila Kunis is a favorite. Ahehe Thanks! :)

  5. Haha, well go and hope you enjoy the movie!