26. Ted (R) - Runtime: 106 minutes
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane (voice)
Director: Seth MacFarlane
I stopped watching Family Guy when it came back on air after being cancelled. I had run out and bought the two box sets and watched them over and over again while I was in college. I soon got burned out and when Fox brought back the show (why oh why didn't they do this with Arrested Development???) I was so sick of Peter Griffin's family, I grew to loathe his voice and all those fill-in-the-blanks, mad-lib style jokes. So I thought Ted might be a nice refreshing change for Mr. MacFarlane - he's stepping out from the shadow of his animated show to try something new. Unfortunately, Ted is just a hard-R version of Family Guy. In fact, you could switch Ted the bear with Peter Griffin and wouldn't know the difference. Which, for some (including the whole audience I watched the movie with) is probably the greatest thing ever. But I did not laugh out loud even once.
The plot is pretty out there and you'll just have to disregard logic and reality in order to get past the set up. In 1985, John is a lonely boy and he makes a Christmas wish when he's 8 and magically, his teddy bear comes to life. This is a real teddy bear, not part of his imagination and the movie never explains why John is so special, nor why this has never happened before to any kid who makes a wish on Christmas Day. Whatever, it's a really dumb reason for Ted to come into existence and you just have to go with it, otherwise you might find yourself getting really annoyed. Flash to the present and John is a loser - working middle management, getting high and watching old Flash Gordon episodes. For some strange reason he has a super hot girlfriend. Oh and Ted lives with him, getting high and basically being a loser too after the fame of being a talking teddy bear died out. So stuff happens and yada yada yada it all leads to John growing up and realizing his potential.
So lets get down to brass tacks - Ted is straight up an asshole. He doesn't really care about anyone except for John and his whole existence is filled with weird conundrums. The bear is filled with stuffing, but can get high and drunk. He doesn't have a penis, but clearly is shown having sex. I tried really really hard to get past some of these problems, but I couldn't. I could buy every other premise in this movie except for what Ted actually does. He's not human, but the movie would have worked better if he was a human best friend. But then you lose the really wonderful (/sarcasm) gimmick of a walking, talking, crude teddy bear!
As for the jokes in the movie - the movie has a few shining moments (the love affair for Flash Gordon is pretty good), but overall, they all fall flat with either obscure pop culture references or if they do talk about relevant pop culture jokes, they all are pretty lame. Think late night TV show jokes. Yeah, we get it, Katy Perry is a bad singer, sheesh. But the biggest offense in the movie is the stolen scene they steal from Airplane! It's not a homage or a faithful tribute, the movie acts like it came up with the scene itself. The scene in particular is when Ted Striker sees Elaine at a disco - it's pretty much a parody of Saturday Night Fever, but really funny in the original. Instead of being a great tribute or giving their own spin on the parody, the movie just flat out steals the whole scene, shot for shot. It's completely distasteful and extremely lazy.
And that's the main problem with this movie - the jokes and scenes all were written probably in couple hours time. It's a lazy movie and deciding to just blatantly rip off a scene from one of the greatest comedies of all time is truly offensive. The movie even rips of Family Guy's famous chicken fighting scene. Yes, Ted and John have a fight in the motel and it goes on forever (much like Peter Griffin and the chicken) and we're supposed to find it funny but it's already been done! I understand comedies steal from each other all the time and nothing's really original anymore, but this was just obviously lacking in any sort of creativity.
The movie's a big waste of time because you don't care about anything that's happening, nor are the characters interesting. Ted's a jerk, John's a lazy turd and John's girlfriend is so dumb for sticking around that you wonder if she's mentally deficient. It's amazing MacFarlane got two really great actors to play these parts because their characters are DOA in this movie. There's a couple of good cameos, but overall it didn't make the movie better.
If you really like Family Guy, this is probably up your alley. I was the only one in the theater that wasn't laughing hysterically at all the jokes (in fact, sometimes the audience would start cracking up before the jokes were even finished!). I don't know if I'm out of touch with the cool kids, but I just thought it was supremely lame and for sure the worst movie I've seen this year!
Rating: Avoid Like the Plague!