JULY 15, 2012

The film “Ted” tells the story of a young boy who wishes for his teddy bear to come to life. If that sounds too heart-warming for your liking, now picture that the teddy bear grows up to be a pot-smoking, fowl-mouthed bear. And now, he is getting in the way of a blossoming relationship between his best friend (“thunder-buddy”), John (Mark Wahlberg), and John’s girlfriend of four years, Lori (Mila Kunis).

On the surface, “Ted” is Seth MacFarlane’s chance to make a splash on the big screen for the first time, directing and voice-acting the character of Ted. But deep down, “Ted” is a story of camaraderie and coming of age, even if that coming of age happens at 35 years old. The story is nothing new but with the creator of “Family Guy” at the helm and given the R rating that it so needed (and deserved), Ted transcends its recycled plot by remaining completely unabashed.

Epic one-liners and unforgettable moments fill the entire film. The comedy is frequent between the slew of racist non-sequiturs and the two lead’s obsessions with Flash Gordon. Multiple viewings are required, having missed some of the jokes the first time from laughing so hard. Ryan Reynolds even has an uncredited cameo. Even the visual effects of the character Ted are so seamless that there is never a moment where you question his existence.

Mark Wahlberg has found his home in comedies, proving that his performance in “The Other Guys,” co-starring Will Ferrell, was no fluke. Though never quite surpassing Ted in the humor department, both play off each other exceptionally well, and Wahlberg proves himself indispensable. Mila Kunis never fails to impress, but with the nagging girlfriend schtick, it gets hard to see her as a fleshed-out character.

Giovanni Ribisi also delivers a superb comedic performance as a man stalking Ted for most of his life, having wanted a talking teddy bear as a kid. His level of creepiness is equaled only by his dance moves to the song “I Think We’re Alone Now.”

“Ted” is the best comedy this year, delivering on all fronts, with jokes that hit their marks and absolutely no wasted moments. No matter how minor, every character gets their moment to shine comedically, and Seth MacFarlane proves himself successful in his first feature film. Unlike this year’s previous raunchy comedies like “21 Jump Street” and “American Reunion,” “Ted” is the first comedy that seems to ultimately appeal to both sexes (as well as to children, which is just too bad). If “Ted” leaves you with nothing else, it will at least cause some pondering over how a stuffed bear can have intercourse with a human.

June 29, 2012

Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane
Alec Sulkin
Wellesley Wild

Universal Pictures

(for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use)

106 minutes

Michael Barrett

Walter Murphy

Jeff Freeman

Mark Wahlberg
Mila Kunis
Seth MacFarlane
Joel McHale
Giovanni Ribisi
Patrick Warburton
Laura Vandervoort
Matt Walsh
Jessica Barth
Alex Borstein
Ralph Garman
Ryan Reynolds
Norah Jones
Tom Skerritt
Patrick Stewart

Scott Stuber
Seth MacFarlane
John Jacobs
Jason Clark

$50–65 million

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