Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s transition from animation to live action and from television to movies in his major cinematic debut is a laugh-out-loud riot. Just as he does in the Emmy-winning TV show that put him on the map, MacFarlane does it all in Ted, filling up the credits as director, co-writer, producer, and the voice and mo-cap actor for the titular stuffed bear. Long criticized for “borrowing” from The Simpsons and then again, or repackaging, his first hit show in American Dad! (plagiarismo di plagiarismo), MacFarlane has
addressed his critics given those dirty “bastahds” the middle finger by coming up with an entirely original premise that’s as hilarious as it is interesting.
Ted got me crying with laughter early with its strong start, which holds up most of the way throughout the film to its equally side-splitting end. I’d say the biggest weakness was some of the plot elements that relate to Giovanni Ribisi’s character, but 1. He was still f@&%ing funny (and continues to be one of the most underrated talents in Hollywood), and 2. It’s a movie about a raunchy teddy bear that was wished to life by a stoner when he was a kid… so I can’t really complain about the plot. Besides, MacFarlane has decently managed to tone down the randomness that’s sometimes an off-putting double-edged sword in his trio of animated TV series.
Instead, he’s kept what often does work for his boundary-pushing television shows. Like in That’s My Boy, there’s a great assortment of cameos and ’80s references galore. And not surprisingly, Ted is highly ridiculous, insensitive, mean, offensive, tasteless, disgusting, sexist, racist, stereotyping, homophobic, and anti-Semitic. It’s basically what
Diet Borat The Dictator tried to dish out as humor, even including 9/11 jokes. But here’s one thing MacFarlane didn’t steal from The Simpsons Movie: full frontal male nudity. Thanks, man. Another big plus: none of the best jokes were given away in the trailers for Ted.
Mark Wahlberg, who’s had experience playing off an immature and furry co-star before in The Other Guys, again exhibits comedic chemistry, this time impressively with a two-and-a-half-foot CGI teddy bear and also with Mila Kunis, a Family Guy staple who showed last year in Friends With Benefits that she can handle hard R-rated comedy. Joel McHale also adds a fantastic supporting performance as Kunis’ ultra-d-bag boss.
Is Ted the best comedy of the year? That depends on how much you liked 21 Jump Street, but I fully expect both films to remain to be top candidates by the end of 2012. For a lighthearted but heavy-hitting summer comedy break while the superhero blockbusters duke it out later this month, be sure to grab your party weapon of choice and get wasTed. Ted gets 3.5 out of 5 stars or B or Good.