Young John (Bretton Manley) makes a Christmas miracle happen by bringing to life his one and only friend - his teddy bear. The two grow up together but the time comes when grown up John (Mark Wahlberg) has to choose between staying with his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) or keeping his friendship with his crude and extremely inappropriate teddy bear, Ted (voice of Seth MacFarlane).
Review by Louise Keller:
What is even more absurd than a pot-smoking, foul-mouthed, breast squeezing teddy bear is the fact that for much of the shenanigans, we actually go along with it. Although the film is punctuated by crude references to farting, anal sex, turds and ejaculation, there's a gentle sprinkling of magic to this soft-hearted satire that spills over from a little boy's wish to have a life-long true friend. Seth MacFarlane's flash of brilliance in conceiving Ted is that from the outset (after a brief interlude of celebrity), we accept the fact that the teddy bear can talk. Additionally, all the characters play it for real with Mark Wahlberg credible as the 35 year old kid who has never grown up. It's not quite as funny as I hoped, but if you're ready to leave commonsense at the door and enjoy some good-hearted nonsense, there's fun to be had with Ted.
Patrick Stewart's rich, deep voice sets the tongue-in-cheek tone as he narrates the course of the miraculous events in 1985, when the Christmas Eve wish comes true for the then-eight year old John Bennett (Bretton Manley). It is under a sheet in a thunderstorm that child and teddy become Thunder Buddies for life. Twenty seven years later, John (Wahlberg) and Ted (voice of MacFarlane) are sitting on the couch smoking dope and watching television. Even John's girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) seems to cope with Ted jumping into bed between them, their lovemaking interrupted by peels of thunder. But the advent of John and Lori's fourth anniversary prompts a shift in the living arrangements. Kunis is lovely but gets short shift and is unsurprisingly upstaged.
There's a running gag involving TV character Flash Gordon star Sam Jones, with whom John and Ted drink shots and snort cocaine and a surprise cameo by singer Norah Jones, who incorporates John into her show (Wahlberg does a fine job of singing off-key). Giovanni Ribisi plays freaky to perfection as the obsessed father who wants Ted for his fat, brat of a kid (Aedin Mincks); the car chase sequence in which John and Lori try to get the kidnapped bear back is pretty funny. There's also a sub-plot involving Ted and Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), a curvaceous dumb, blonde check-out chick with whom he works and who he humps in the back room.
Incongruity plays a major role - with karaoke, Tintin comics, an unkind reference to Susan Boyle and an irate Chinese neighbour with a duck called James Franco. But the main action is between Wahlberg and the teddy bear; their scenes together are great fun, with Wahlberg often the worse for wear as he is pummelled, punched and whipped by a TV antenna. It is all about the irrepressible bad bear with the politically incorrect urges, who ultimately presses our buttons and infects us with a welcome soupçon of silliness.
Note: South Melbourne VFX Company Iloura created over half of the tantalising CG shots for the movie – like the one of Ted chatting on his iphone in a bubble bath.
Email this article
CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh, Jassica Barth
VOICES: Seth MacFarlane
NARRATION: Patrick Stewart
PRODUCER: Jason Clark, John Jacobs, Scott Stuber, Wellesley Wild
DIRECTOR: Seth MacFarlane
SCRIPT: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Barrett
EDITOR: Jeff Freeman
MUSIC: Walter Murphy
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Steven J. Lineweaver
RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 5, 2012
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.