Directed by Seth MacFarlane
“Ted” is a total Flash of genius. As producer, writer, director, and star, the funniest man in America (yes, Seth MacFarlane, the creator of “Family Guy,” is in Hollywood…God help us) is…nothing but a man, but he can never fail.
More than a silly farce or a witty first attempt at filmmaking, MacFarlane’s fresh and original story about a stuffed bear coming to life (and the ups and downs of his life 30 years later) is the best comedy I saw in the year 2012…and (because sometimes they’re not the same movie) it also happened to be the funniest.
Some thirty years after wishing his stuffed bear Teddy to life, Johnny (Mark Wahlberg) still lives with the older, raunchier Ted (McFarlane, directing his feature debut in a motion capture suit). When Johnny’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis, a “Family Guy” regular) realizes that the pot-smoking, hooker-banging bear is driving a wedge between her and her man, she asks that Johnny kick him out. Hilarity ensues. Even without Ted in the house, the proverbial shit finds a way to hit the fan.
“Ted” may, in fact, be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen (and after 3 viewings in three consecutive nights, I’m pretty sure of myself)…and here’s why. “Ted” mixes everything I love about “Family Guy,” and more; the obscurest of pop culture references, blatant sarcasm, the most innocent of characters spewing filth, and silly Boston accents! But MacFarlane’s tender script hides something more than humor – a story. Yes, some of the plot details are left unanswered and some of the loose ends could have been sewn up a little more handily, but “Ted” is more of a movie than most comedies can claim to be. Johnny and Lori have a tumultuous relationship, Ted finds himself a job (and a co-worker girlfriend), and MacFarlane throws in just a touch of tragedy to keep it exciting. But, like every great comedy, “Ted” never loses the funny! Even during the most trying and tragic points in the story, “Ted” continues with knockout punch after knockout punch of quotable comic gems. MacFarlane’s script is smart. Where weak comedies resort to using mediocre filler lines between its humorous ones, “Ted” never relies on that crutch. It’s a quality movie with lasting potential. And MacFarlane has incredible reasoning skills…under no other writing talent could a story about a talking teddy be half as convincing. “Ted” lets you enjoy the story without doubting what you see. And we can credit the ingenious crew for their technical innovation – filming “Ted” was a work of art in itself (the fun bonus features taught me that).
Wahlberg, Kunis, and MacFarlane are an unstoppable trio, but their supporting cast (led by Joel McHale, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh, and a few cameos you won’t want to miss) exemplify the meaning of the word “support”…they hold “Ted” up higher than the leading three ever could alone.
“Ted” is a magical wish come true for those who love Seth MacFarlane’s particular brand of reference-heavy humor. From one movie buff to another, I encourage you to check this one out.