It didn’t occur to me until recently that I’m probably the biggest Seth MacFarlane fan I know. I still watch Family Guy (despite it’s declining quality), very much enjoy American Dad, and have probably seen more episodes of The Cleveland Show than what’s considered socially acceptable. So naturally I felt I had a duty to see Seth MacFarlane’s off-brand humor now on the big screen. The results being a raunchy and ridiculous comedy that has some very funny moments despite it’s formulaic plot structure.
Ted concerns the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) an underachieving rental car employee who is best friends with Ted, a living teddy bear (Seth MacFarlane). Ted was brought to life by a wish from a prepubescent John and has grown up into a rude, crude party animal that John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunsi) feels is holding John back. The main thrust of the plot concerns John letting go of his childish best friend to be with his true love. Honestly, this portion of the film feels very stock. John and Lori’s scenes are generic and uninspired. The dialogue is additionally overly predictable, “I can change”, “Give me one more chance”, like they took it straight from the lesser end of Hugh Grant’s acting catalogue.
Ted may be wrapped around an overly typical plot, but there’s nothing typical about the jokes between Ted and John. Any Family Guy fan will appreciate the un-p.c. humor and obscure pop culture references. Tom Skerritt anyone? Perhaps the funniest, most prominent pop culture gag is how much Ted and John love the 1980 sci-fi film Flash Gordon. This joke is so prominent that Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon) actually in an extended cameo.
Ted has some inspired moments but suffers trying to find a balance between jokes and a story. I’ve heard people say, “It’s too much like Family Guy.” But I would argue that it’s not enough like Family Guy. Seth MacFarlane could have greatly benefited by going the route ofthe legendary film Airplane. What I mean by that is: sacrificing an otherwise generic story for a non-stop comedy bits. Stringing together sketch ideas is the format that made Seth’s shows so popular, so why not give it a go on the big screen? Instead they go for a story that I have very little invested in. Did I come to this movie for any kind of message? Hell no. So if you want a quick chuckle I’d say give it a rent, but my vote still goes to Cabin in the Woods for the funniest movie of the year.