Posted July 8, 2012 by D. K. Holm
Ted, TV’s Seth MacFarland’s first foray onto the big screen is both funnier than you expect but also strangely more conventional and in fact sentimental. Perhaps that’s a cynical calculation on the part of the filmmakers. With the raunch and politically incorrect humor, Macfarland lures the boys, and with the sentimental love story, beauty tames the beast, thus he also attracts the other half of the audience. Ted has a magical premise in which a lonely kid wishes that his teddy bear were really alive. The wish is granted, though we are never told by whom, and the movie cleverly dispense with the implausibility of the premise by simply accepting its nuttiness and showing in montage the rise and fall of Ted the bear as a media sensation before, like some child star from seventies television, he settles into a loutish bong-dependent existence in Boston with John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his live in girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis). The conflict of the drama is that Lori wants John to settle down and have Ted move out. Can all three live in co-existence? But a threat also resides in the form of Donny (Giovanni Ribissi), a dark-side-John, who has fantasized about owning Ted himself since seeing Ted on Johnny Carson during childhood. A move out, a job in a grocery store, a breakup, and a kidnapping later, and all ends well for everyone. The first half of the film is raunchy in the spiriting of Macfarland’s Family Guy, while the second half is sentimental in the spirit of Judd Apatow, which is fine, but Ted could have used more of the weirdness of Donny, at one point caught dancing naked in front of the TV to Tiffany like an even crazier Jame Gumb from The Silence of the Lambs.