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Your lifestyle, your quirk
So yesterday my mom called me and adamantly told me that she wanted to go see Ted because she thought it looked “cute.” I tried to explain that I didn’t think the movie was aiming for “cute” based on the R-rating , the fact that the Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is behind it, and the gist of the trailer, in which Ted the stuffed bear hangs around with a bunch of prostitutes watching Sixteen and Pregnant. Anyway, she wasn’t hearing it and I’d wanted to see the movie anyway, so we went.
The movie is exactly what you’d expect from the previews – the story of a grown man, John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his lifelong friendship with his teddy bear, Ted…who just happens to be alive…and very, very profane. When John was a boy he had no friends, so he wished his Christmas present was real and voila, you get 106 minutes of proudly raunchy comedy!
Ted, who briefly became a celebrity in the ’80s for being, well, a living stuffed animal who can talk, has grown in to a pot-smoking, horny teddy bear who sounds uncannily like Peter Griffin. He’s the perfect sidekick for John, who is an unambitious, pot-smoking thirty-five-year-old who can barely maintain his job at a rental car company (and who talks like he’s straight out of Jimmy Fallon’s old Saturday Night Live skit of people from Boston). The best thing in John’s life is his super gorgeous and successful girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis), but she’s getting fed up with him and Ted’s childish antics after four years of dating and presumably only stays with him because, well, he’s pretty hot (yeah, yeah, yeah, she says he makes her laugh and stuff, too). After being pushed to her limit, she makes it clear that it’s her or Ted but, as expected, things aren’t so easy for John or Ted when Ted moves out on his own. Hilarity (and lots of profanity) ensues.
The good: the movie has moments that are so silly, random, and sometimes downright offensive that they’re laugh out loud funny. I particularly enjoyed the commentary by Patrick Stewart and, honestly, I could just look at Ted all day – the contrast of MacFarlane’s voice coming out of that cute little face just has to make you smile a little. Mila Kunis, who I always enjoy, does a great job playing the cool dream girlfriend pushed to her limit and conveys both love and disgust for Ted. Its mocking of pop culture is spot-on and occasionally hilarious, and a few celebrities make memorable cameos. The story moves at a good pace and manages to maintain its level of funniness pretty consistently from start to finish, even after the charm of seeing a talking teddy wears off.
The bad: I like Mark Wahlberg and it was clear he was really trying in this role, but the over-the-top Boston accent got grating after a while (and I’ve spent a lot of time in Boston) and I found his character pretty irritating, which I guess was kind of the point…but I also had a tough time finding him likable enough to care about. The movie, as expected, is unnecessarily vulgar, riddled with fart jokes, and completely un-politically correct (which sometimes worked, and sometimes crossed the line of overly tasteless). The storyline is predictable, but I doubt anyone went in expecting anything more.
The bottom line: Fans of Family Guy’s brand of humor and people looking for a silly, R-rated comedy will really enjoy this. It’s one of the few films that is pretty much exactly what you’d expect if you’ve seen the previews and are familiar with MacFarlane’s wacky and offensive style. I definitely laughed at many parts, but I also cringed uncomfortably at a few. Overall, I enjoyed it, but if you’re easily offended skip it.