'Family Guy' Creator Pleases Fans with First Film
Published: Monday, July 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, July 9, 2012 13:07
After success in television with shows such as “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “The Cleveland Show,” Seth MacFarlane — comfortable in multiple roles as creator, writer and voice actor — decided to take his talents to the big screen with his first movie: Ted.
This film tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his best friend and teddy bear, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane). The plot starts off focusing on seven-year-old John, lonely and in search of a friend on Christmas. After receiving Ted from his parents, he spends all his time with this new partner and innocently wishes his companion could be real, a dream that miraculously comes true. Once people overcome their initial shock, Ted quickly becomes an adored celebrity — he is praised as a Christmas miracle and compared to the baby Jesus.
Now adults, John and Ted remain inseparable, despite John’s long-term relationship with Lori Collins (Mila Kunis). Initially, most scenes revolve around the two friends at home, cursing frequently as they smoke an astonishing amount of weed. John works at a rental car store and has an unremarkable future ahead of him, while Ted stays at home and does what he wants, taking no responsibility for his actions — after all, he’s a teddy bear. Meanwhile, Lori works at a large public relations firm where she suffers constant advances by her sexual harassment-prone boss, Rex (Joel McHale).
Having dated John for four years, Lori wants her boyfriend to grow up and focus on their life together. John is very much in love with Lori, but, since he splits his time between her and his talking teddy bear, it’s easy to see why she might be upset. Although the three get along well, John encounters difficulties in moving forward in his relationship while still managing his childhood friendship.
The film is incredibly funny, with hilarious exchanges between the characters with heavy sarcasm, cursing and constant mockery of numerous celebrities. Seeing a stuffed teddy bear cursing is funnier than you would expect, especially in a voice so similar to Peter Griffin’s. These were undoubtedly the most consistent 106 minutes of laughter I have experienced, with rarely more than two straight minutes of silence in the audience. The humor is extremely controversial, with frequent references to racial and religious stereotypes and in-your-face social commentary in classic “Family Guy” fashion. If you are not easily offended and are already a fan of MacFarlane’s humor, you will appreciate this film.
The peripheral characters don’t appear too often, but they add significantly to the experience, providing hilarious one-liners and comical subplots. In one such scene, the constantly confused Guy (Patrick Warburton, the voice of Joe in “Family Guy”), Ted’s romantic counterpart Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and the very creepy Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) take center stage. The celebrity cameos are equally short and sweet, with Ryan Reynolds playing a speechless gay man, Norah Jones showing her cruder side and Sam Jones attempting to relive his days as Flash Gordon.
The movie is not just a series of funny conversations and ridiculous actions — although don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of that. It is also a movie that tells a story and relays a message about friendship, love and the difficulties of growing up. As a result, certain scenes are unexpectedly touching and pleasantly emotional. By the end of the movie, I forgot that Ted is not technically a person.
Overall, Ted is an amazing comedy, especially if you’re a fan of “Family Guy.” In addition to the outrageously funny teddy bear, Wahlberg — probably best known for his dramatic acting — does a great job in this comedic role, demonstrating surprising chemistry with the animated teddy bear as well as with Kunis, the closest thing to a normal person in the film. Seth MacFarlane makes his presence on the big screen felt through his vocal performance as Ted and his work expertly crafting an evocative and funny plot.
This was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen, and I will inevitably find myself retelling jokes and quoting lines and boring my friends through repetition. But this is just one of those movies you’ll always want to talk about. At the end of the day, it’s hard to describe just how consistently funny this movie is — it’s just one of those that you have to see for yourself.