It was only a matter of time before Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane made his crossover into film. Ted is MacFarlane’s brain child, having been written, produced and directed by MacFarlane as well as lending his voice for the titular character. MacFarlane’s R-rated stoner teddy bear comedy brings MacFarlane’s usual brand of TV humor to the big screen, only this time he gets away with more F-bombs and has nearly two hours to do so. Perhaps MacFarlane should stick to the small screen and leave the featured-length films for the big boys.
John (Mark Wahlberg) is a helpless idiot. When he was a young snot he wished for a teddy bear and it came to life. Ted (Seth MacFarlane) is his real-life best friend in the shape of a stuffed animal. He’s not cute or well-behaved like most would have expected, instead he’s a foul-mouthed loser that likes to smoke pot and waste the day away, preferably with John at his side.
There’s a problem though. John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) wants to take things to the next level, which means kicking out Ted and moving on with their lives together. This doesn’t sit well with Ted and it also puts an extreme amount of pressure on John as he’s forced to choose between his life-long best friend and the girl of his dreams.
Right out of the gate Ted feels exactly like a Seth MacFarlane movie. Up until this point the guy hasn’t actually directed a big screen live-action film and his transition is mostly a harmless one, if you’re into his style of comedy. Family Guy has always been a hit-or-miss show and MacFarlane clearly hasn’t learned much from it because Ted rarely gets out of that hit-or-miss category.
The film starts out with a dozen jokes coming at you in rapid fire, yet only two or three of them remain funny. The other ten are trademark MacFarlane fart, sex or race jokes and they’re rarely amusing. MacFarlane is clearly catering to the early-teens crowd, yet this R-rated film is legally supposed to attract adults over the age of seventeen. That didn’t seem to stop the film from becoming one of Universal’s highest grossing films this year, which means Ted 2 should be coming out just around the corner.
And that’s fine, because MacFarlane clearly has an audience that responses to his material. It’s just too bad that he couldn’t broaden his horizons or perhaps progress as a filmmaker. MacFarlane directs Ted without much excitement. The actual special effects work on the bear is life-like and never really all that distracting, but the stuff that comes out of Ted’s mouth is rarely comedic.
Mark Wahlberg does his best playing a variation of Mark Wahlberg and that’s fine, because that’s really all you’re looking for when you watch an R-rated buddy-buddy comedy about a man and his stuffed teddy bear. Wahlberg’s ability to actually make the film somewhat serious for the character of John is hilarious in its own right, because at no point are the stakes ever that high.
Mila Kunis’ Lori is an afterthought and simply a character plot-point that drives the film in one direction. There’s not much to like or dislike about Kunis and she’s mostly under-used and tossed aside for MacFarlane to go off on long Flash Gordon geek-outs that really don’t help make the best of the film’s time.
Ted remains acceptable because it never tries to be anything that it’s not. MacFarlane marketed the film exactly like he should and it attracted a crowd that’s going to love it and that’s fine. Those looking for something different or more satisfying than MacFarlane’s usual brand of humor shouldn’t even bother with this one.
Universal’s 1080p video transfer remains natural and balanced, with colors appearing without much distraction or banding. Ted himself looks detailed and fully-textured, while the rest of the sets and locations look their best.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is your usual front-heavy comedy presentation that focuses almost completely on dialogue, with the occasional ambiance to help fill up the back channels when needed. There’s little to complain about with this one.
Here’s a list of bonus content:
- Unrated and Theatrical Versions (HD)
- Audio Commentary
- The Making of Ted (HD)
- Deleted Scenes (HD)
- Teddy Bear Scuffle (HD)
- Alternate Takes (HD)
- Gag Reel (HD)
- DVD Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
- Digital Copy
Seth MacFarlane’s Ted fails to be anything more than a continuation of that same hit-or-miss humor that has made his Family Guy show so popular. MacFarlane transitions to the world of film without many hiccups, but he also doesn’t bother perfecting his comedy or tightening up some of the leftover gags that seem to go on forever. That’s fine though, because there’s clearly a crowd out there for this particular comedy and MacFarlane is simply catering to the masses.
Ted isn’t all that funny or even remotely clever, but it gets by on good graces because of MacFarlane’s harmless approach and Mark Wahlberg’s essential casting. The Blu-Ray isn’t jam-packed with bonus content, but it’s got enough to keep you busy, plus it looks fine and sounds great.
Seth MacFarlane's Ted is too much of a hit-or-miss comedy to be considered a success. Parts of the film work wonders and benefit from MacFarlane's usual raunchy humor and Wahlberg's line delivery, while other parts struggle resonating or maintaining comedic flow.