Yay – it’s MA!
If anything was going to kill the Family Guy wicked fun and laughs I love so much in the work of Seth McFarlane, it would have been Hollywood dumbing down a sharp, slapstick, bad taste, politically incorrect satirist by making his first feature film [ugh] M or even worse – PG.
Ted works on so many levels. For genre mash-ups to work, each genre has to work equally as well as the other. EG a romantic comedy has to succeed as a romantic story and in the funny stuff. A mystery thriller has to have a great mystery with proportional thrills.
But Ted is a four-way mash.
It succeeds as a fairytale – most kids wished their favourite toy or pet could talk to them.
It succeeds as a love story – Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis (the voice of Meg in Family Guy) have chemistry that plays out with a fair whack of reality.
It succeeds as a stoner bromance – Ted and John are clearly best friends with a long, colourful history loaded with hilarious stories to repeat as they get smashed and run every red light down Memory Lane (thank you Dire Straits for that metaphor).
It succeeds as a coming of age story – John needs to grow up and put the bear down (not with a veterinarian ‘green dream’ shot.) l mean he has to put the bear aside – re-draw the boundaries of how they spend time together now this he is a grown man and Ted can remain and a wonderfully bad bear for the rest of his magical life.
But I would not go so far as to describe it as a homo-erotic plushy love story. The love that Ted and John share is hetero at its heart.
It was great to see Joel McHale in the film along with Putty – Elaine’s meathead boyfriend in Seinfeld. And boy oh boy – who know Giovanni Ribisi could dance like that? His hips can bust porno moves.
Was there too much screen time given to the campy 80s film Flash Gordon? Possibly. But it still worked.
And – I cried.
My other favourite part was homage to the Family Guy’s running gag of Peter Griffin’s fight with a giant, angry chicken.
The live action animation is nailed perfectly with only one sneaky give away – when Mark Wahlberg rattles off all the girls names to Ted on the couch, you can see his eyes reading autocue. Otherwise, the performances of the actors with the bear are seamless.
Go see Ted. He’s a lot of fun to hang out with for a couple of hours – at least.
4.5 out 5.
Here’s the trailer…
And if you want to read a great Q&A with Seth, Mark and Mila: https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/talking-ted-with-a-real-family-guy-20120620-20nbm.html