I used to love Family Guy.
These days it’s just not up to much and – as I’ve written on this blog before – there are a few reasons for that.
They changed the character of Stewie from a matricidal super-genius into a repressed homosexual (a character that could only go one way – crude), they kept hammering the same jokes and characters home long beyond the point of being funny (Meg being ugly and Chester being a paedophile) and every episode seems to involve a song.
Chief among the problems is that Seth MacFarlane seems to have spread himself too thin. One man is responsible for producing 63 episodes of animated comedy per television season. That’s too much; the jokes were always going to wear out.
And you also get the feeling that – as the old saying goes – if MacFarlane was made of chocolate he’d eat himself.
So I must admit I was a little wary going to see Ted, MacFarlane’s first venture into cinema.
What’s Ted About?
The movie tells the story of John (played by Mark Wahlberg) and his talking teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane) who keeps John and his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) from moving on with their lives.
Thoughts – Was It Funny?
I was concerned at the start of the film when the first two jokes (one about beating up Jewish children and another about an Apache helicopter) badly misfired. Was this going to be a film that I just didn’t find remotely funny?
Thankfully the answer to that was no. While I didn’t find all the humour to my taste (I don’t find toilet humour – literal or metaphorical – amusing, and this film had both) and while I also felt that there was an over-relience on swearing (which seemed to be emphasised simply because they could) there was plenty of dialogue that hit the right spot for me, as well as a few brilliant set pieces. In particular I found the whole scene with the house party round at Ted’s new flat to be superb. I won’t ruin it for you other than to say it involves Flash Gordon and a duck.
It was obvious that this was written – at least in part – by MacFarlane because there was some of his strange trademarks in there. For example, I don’t understand or ‘get’ his fascination with Lou Gehrig’s disease or see the funny side in bringing it up, and yet he seems to do it frequently, with Ted continuing that trend.
So it was hit and miss, but the hits made it worth seeing.
The Plot and the Acting
Of course, a film needs a plot; it can’t just survive on jokes, and while I did feel the side issue with the stalker and his son was no more than padding, and that the main plot of two’s company, three’s a crowd was a little basic, it plodded along fine.
The main set piece that I didn’t think was necessary was the fight scene. Again, MacFarlane loves a fight scene as anyone who has seen the Peter Griffin vs The Giant Chicken Parts 1 through 63728 will know, but here it just didn’t seem necessary and while these things work fine in a cartoon, it just looked stupid in live action. But then I suppose it’s a film about a teddy bear that has come to life and therefore you can’t be taking it too seriously…
In terms of the acting, there was nothing out of the ordinary.
Mila Kunis was as steady as she always is, perfectly capable of carrying a comedy film as the female lead without much of an issue. And it’s no surprise that it was her who was chosen to be the female lead considering her Family Guy connections. And as you might expect pretty much everyone from the Family Guy crew make appearances of varying sizes in the film; the only notable exception being Seth Green.
The only thing I wasn’t too sure about was whether or not Mark Wahlberg was putting on that broad Bostonian accent. I thought it was a really bad attempt at it, but it turns out he’s from Boston so you never know. Oh, and also it seemed as though in the early scenes that MacFarlane wasn’t sure whether or not to voice Ted as Brian or Peter Griffin. He settled on Peter in the end.
Should You Go To See Ted?
So I haven’t really had too much to say about the film. It has a textbook plot and its cast is solid yet unspectacular.
If the humour misfires for you then Ted will end up being a complete waste of your time because there’s not much else to it. However, if you’ve ever found Family Guy amusing there will be some bits in there to raise a smile and even a laugh, and therefore it would be worth you seeing.
But if you don’t like Family Guy, don’t bother.