Aneesh Chaganty

Ted | MAD Review

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2012 at 8:41 PM

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Ted

(2012, US, d. Seth MacFarlane)

Being a fan of Seth MacFarlaneI had high hopes for Ted. I think MacFarlane is one of the most culturally relevant and well-spoken people of his generation and what he’s been able to achieve through comedy – much like the guys behind South Park – is nothing short of a milestone.

Needless to say, I held this film to a higher standard than the traditional comedy. And though I went in with an open mind and I laughed…a lot, there was something missing here. And I think it’s a combination of both what MacFarlane did achieve with the film and what he didn’t.

Ted is based on a very simple premise. A little boy makes a wish for a stuffed bear to come to life. It does. But it doesn’t go back to being inanimate after he grows up. It just stays alive, and grows with him. By the time the owner (played by Mark Wahlberg) is in his late 20’s, Ted is a mean, raunchy, and foul-mouthed teddy bear. Also, in this world, Ted is famous. Everyone recognizes him – but much like the stars of the 90s and 80s, he soon just becomes another “has been”. 15 minutes of fame has come and gone.

There are some other minor plot points in the story, but that’s just really a mechanism to get the jokes flowing. It’s hard to really critique a movie that I found hilarious. MacFarlane finds the best in his supporting characters (Joel McHale is particularly impressive) and is able to give each of them distinct personalities. But it’s really the stuffed CGI teddy bear at its core that gives the film the extra punch.

Wahlberg does his best with the material here but is easily overshadowed by both Ted’s humor and Mila Kunis’…Mila Kunis. The jokes are raunchy and don’t care for being politically correct – a sometimes shocking, but mostly refreshing move. But better than that, the jokes feel…important. They resonate with the present. 

Because of that, I have no doubt that in ten years, this film won’t be as funny. But for right now, MacFarlane hit the nail on the head with the screenplay. Its jokes are catered to Americans and the issues we surround ourselves with. It’s a very smart screenplay.

You may think I’m overanalyzing another R-rated comedy, but Ted is more than that. In fact, my biggest complaint is that is never becomes as culturally relevant as it could have been. In Ted, I saw the potential for the next Superbad (one of the most poignant films of the 2000s, no joke) but it never delivered on that promise.

Again, it’s hard for me to critique a movie on what wasn’t there rather than what was. At the end of the day, Ted is hilarious. And what more can you ask for? 

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