Seth MacFarlane first feature as director is a novel idea that could fit easily as a premise for one of his cartoons. That is one christmas, a lonely boy makes a wish for his teddy bear to come to life and be his best friend forever. Magically, the next morning his wish comes true and Ted and John are buddies for life. Evan in adolescence, one man and his teddy bear sit on the couch drinking beer and smoke cannabis. All the partying starts to wear thin on John’s girlfriend Lori, (Mila Kunis) who wants his to mature and take responsibility. The CGI bear is a cute creation, evan when miming sexual acts. Voiced by MacFarlane himself with a voice not too dissimilar to Peter Griffin, Ted is the star of the show. He is essentially John’s demon and living embodiment of his inner child, and gets all the best lines. However the real smart move was to cast Mark Wahlberg in the lead as John. Wahlberg has always been a dab hand at comedy. Whether it’s flashing his pecks in Date Night or standing next to Will Farrell, being the funny one in The Other Guys. His mild mannered, understated delivery always sells the jokes and puts him head and shoulders above other comedic leading men. (Ahem…. Sandler) Kunis, a MacFarlane favourite, is charming as always in a role that could have easily been annoying, and just like Wahlberg, she can do comedy in her sleep.
The problems lie in the overall story. The script written by MacFarlane and fellow Family Guy writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, has no real structure. Characters are introduced then forgotten about, only to turn up to used as a plot point. With a running time of 106 minutes, Ted feels over stretched as it juggles with two climaxes. One with the relationship with Lori and the other involving an action chase scene. It’s a shame, as the narrative in this film is a complete mess. Instead, what it is a series of ideas and scenarios put together when what Ted really needs is a tightly focused 90 minute script.
However the main purpose of a film like this is to do one thing. Be funny, and the answer I hear you cry is yes. Much like most of MacFarlane’s comedy, it is silly, irrelevant and there are plenty of laughs to go around. Is watch MacFarlane does best, broad comedy that takes no prisoners without the nasty edge behind them. Evan the mention of 9/11 didn’t feel in bad taste. MacFarlane may not be able to write a feature length script yet, but he can still tell a good joke