Review by Pete Mason
“Ted,” the highly anticipated comedy from writer-director Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy,” “American Dad”) stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and a magically brought to life two-foot-tall teddy bear, the title character of the film. In the first 10 minutes, the film dispenses with the premise in a manner that allows the audience to move on, having accepted that, yes, a young boy’s wish really did bring a stuffed bear to life.
Ted – voiced by MacFarlane in a familiar “Family Guy” accent – is a bit of a celebrity, but he is first and foremost John’s (Wahlberg) best friend. Skip ahead 27 years to present day, and we see that Ted and John are living together with John’s girlfriend Lori (Kunis) and although they are both a bit older, they are far from grown up. Lori and John have been together a while, and it soon becomes imperative for Ted to move on with his life, get a job and place of his own. This sets the scene for increasingly hilarious scenes at the local grocery store with the manager and a fellow cashier, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth).
Plot-wise, the focus is on whether or not John and Ted can co-exist without being around each other on the daily basis they have been accustomed to for much of their lives. John has growing up to do; Ted has partying to do. Plenty of drinking and pot smoking goes on in the film, but if you have seen “Family Guy” a few times, you know that’s par for the course.
Sam J. Jones, who played the title role in the 1980’s “Flash Gordon,” makes a cameo appearance, adding to both the absurdity of the film as well as the laughs in a memorable party scene. Joel McHale (“Community”) is typecast as a creepy pretty-boy boss at Lori’s work but proves to be little more than filler. Things get hairy (fuzzy?) when Giovanni Ribisi, a fan of Ted from his childhood days sets his eyes on getting his son whatever he wants, including Ted – a fair assessment of parenting today, leading to a penultimate scene at Fenway Park where ironically, the Yankees are in first place. Even in a movie, the Red Sox can’t catch a break.
“Ted” is this summer’s “The Hangover,” with memorable one-liners, great comedic acting by Wahlberg and something to please fans looking for a comedy amidst the blockbuster action movies of the season. “Ted” is rated R for crude language, drug use, brief nudity (including Wahlberg’s bare ass), over the edge humor and every other reason a movie would get an R rating, with only mild violence in an epic hotel fight scene between John and Ted. Workhorse MacFarlane has a major hit in his first full-length feature film, paving the way for great laughs well into the future.