Directed by- Seth MacFarlane
Running Time- 106 mins
“Family Guy” creator and the voice of dozens of animated characters, Seth MacFarlane makes his big-screen debut as the voice of Ted, a stuffed bear that gets wished to life and can walk and talk and think and do all the things people can do. MacFarlane also directed the movie, co-produced it and co-wrote the screenplay. The fact that the movie is filled with, what can only be described as, “Family Guy humor,” is a testament to MacFarlane, who over the last decade has defined his own brand of humor- biting, sarcastic, raunchy, devoid of sentiment and littered with quick flashback references. Don't let the fact that there is a teddy bear in the movie fool you into thinking this is a kid's movie, it's not.
Ted is wished to life by his child owner John, a lonely picked-on kid who receives Ted as a Christmas present. Everyone can see and hear Ted, who has the voice of a child, and after everyone gets over the shock of a living stuffed animal, Ted briefly becomes a celebrity.
The movie jumps ahead to the present and John and Ted have grown up. John is played by Marc Wahlberg and Ted's voice changes to a grown up's (Mac Farlane). The two are still close friends and enjoy an irresponsible lifestyle- getting high and drunk and obsessing over old television shows and avoiding grown up decisions like moving on from each other and having John marry his girlfriend of four years, Lori, played by Mila Kunis.
Wahlberg has made a nice metaphoric home for himself in comedy but most of the comedy doesn't come from his character in this movie. Nor does it come from Kunis who herself has proven to be a solid comic actor over the past few years. Both actors have been with MacFarlane for years and are obvious choices to play the leads in his first film. But both are really just there to set up punchlines for MacFarlane's Ted who manages the make the movie funny on his own.
As Ted and John realize they have to try living apart for the first time, a crazy man, Donny, played by Giovanni Ribisi, finds and approaches them in the hopes of buying Ted from John as a present for his own mean, bratty child. Donny, it turns out, followed Ted's life since he was a boy. The other sub-plot is about Lori's lecherous boss, played by Joel McHale, who is trying to scheme Lori away from John with the lure of his power and money.
Lori knows John won't grow up or marry her until he stops hanging out with Ted all the time and every time she gives him another chance something with Ted comes up and John lets her down again. When John loses Lori he blames Ted and John finally decides to kick Ted out of his life. It is up to Ted to repair the damage he caused and also get John to accept the fact that he has to grow up and stop playing with his stuffed animal. All while trying to avoid being captured by his crazy fan Donny.
The movie is so much like “Family Guy” that it is almost like a sitcom movie- which makes sense given MacFarlane's television history. But sitcoms are not movies and this film tries to trump one up to be and it falls short. I'm not saying it isn't funny, it is hilarious at times. But the creative concept and funny dialogue and situations don't make up for the weak plot and trivial subject matter.
It is good for some laughs but nothing much more substantial than that.
Review Grade- C+