This was probably the first time that I thought I was watching a
television show on the big screen. And I don’t think that’s a good thing.
From the brilliant but often offensive mind of Seth McFarlene comes Ted, a fuzzy and lovable bear who eventually grows up into this foul mouthed and extremely misbehaving child toy. Yeah, I could see that being on Family Guy. It all starts off with John, played by the very funny Mark Wahlberg, who as a kid was never recognized by any of the neighborhood kids and just wanted a best friend who would stay with him forever. On a starry night, he wishes for his Teddy bear creatively named Ted to be alive, and of course in movies, all dreams come true. The craziness of the situation leads Ted to becoming an instant celebrity, but as most usually do (especially Lindsay Lohan), they fall off to unrecognizable, or more no cares anymore territory, and have nothing to show for it.
This time-wasting act is also embodies by adult John, who still lives with Ted in his girlfriend’s apartment, Lori (played by Mila Kunis). The two have been dating for four years are clearly in love, but Ted’s wreckless behavior (prostitutes, smoking weed, drunk driving, you know, typical stuff teddy bears do) pushes their relationship on the brink as Lori asks John to mature and start making a life for himself. They both know that for him to do this, Ted needs to be out of the equation, which is the hardest thing for John to do.
Honestly, I don’t think anyone really cared about this plot. If you were like me, you come into this movie looking for the laughs, the offensive humor and anything close to what we expect from the creator of Family Guy. The thing is is that I don’t want to watch Family Guy in theaters. I want to watch a movie. And I think this is where the biggest issue arises in Ted. I never felt like McFarlene knew exactly what he was doing. Sure he had great vision with the special effects with Ted and the comedy is great, but this being his directorial debut, you can definitely tell this was his first.
Some may say I ruin movies by my nitpicking, but hey, I can’t help it. When little things like background sound or when to have music or not to have music, all of it matters because there’s a flow to it. I’m not saying that there wasn’t a flow, I’m saying that I don’t think McFarlene knew exactly how to fully establish it. I’m not criticizing Ted for this flaw, I am criticizing it though because I didn’t care for this movie. it was just such an awkward balance of Ted, Ted and John, John and Lori and some really unbalanced scenes of trying to have heart and then trying to be funny, that eventually I grew tired of the plot and just wanted to hear Ted say something obnoxious.
There are some great lines here, probably some of the best I’ve heard all year. And of course Ted is the star. It got so bad though that I’d be okay if the entire movie became a stand-up piece rather than watching characters that I don’t care about. This movie is funny, but the best comedies mix the humor intricately with the plot. Here, I just felt like McFarlene wanted to do just say funny crap with a teddy bear. It works, but only for so long.
And because my frustrations for this film increased with its pretty long running time, those gaps of trying to play serious and not add any comedic tones was barely watchable. I wanted to laugh, not watch something that had already expired in interest.
This being McFarlene’s first feature film, I give him a pass because he’ll learn how to make better films in the future. This being his first, it wasn’t a terrible job. it wasn’t a terrible movie. It had its bright spots, but when a plot that is perfect for a 20 minute show is stretched towards a 110 minute full length feature, yeah, it gets tiring.
Ted gets 2 1/2 stars (out of 5).