Movie Review: Ted (2012)
The American genius Seth MacFarlane, creator of the irreverent animated television series Family Guy, tries his hand for the first time behind the camera with his new film, Ted. It is a black comedy featuring a foul-mouthed and politically incorrect teddy, brought to life by Mark Wahlberg‘s character (John Bennett) through a childhood wish-come-true.
The adult comedy genre has become very popular in the U.S and this film has surfaced at just the right time. Written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, 38, he also lends his voice to the Ted character, a big teddy bear that comes alive on Boxing Day. John is a lonely child who has his wish for a new friend for life, granted. Years later, John becomes a somewhat immature adult while sharing his apartment with Ted. They watch Flash Gordon on TV while drinking beer and talking nonsense. This begins to influence John’s relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis).
MacFarlane claims that the idea had been running through his head for a long time and that it was one of his earlier ideas for another animated series that he just couldn’t format correctly. It was only years later, when the idea of mixing a cartoon and a movie cropped up, that he saw a good enough medium with which to tell the story. When the opportunity to make a movie eventually arose, Ted was on the top of the list.
MacFarlane has a great reputation behind him, thanks to the series Family Guy; a masterpiece of irreverence and black humor created in 1999, and now in its tenth season on Fox. He went on to create “Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy” and the more family friendly, “American Dad.”
There are several themes developed in Ted, such as maturity, responsibility and confusion of child and adult roles. Children who act like adults and adults who act like children are usually a good comedy topic. Many movies have explored the issue and one or two have had great success, such as “Big” and the less beloved “Little Man.”
MacFarlane says that the teddy bear is the physical and symbolic manifestation of the part of John’s personality that is unable to grow up and take life seriously. MacFarlane takes a stab at making fun of almost all religions, all races, and all minorities. It’s his philosophy that if it’s okay to laugh at one, then we should laugh at all.
Mila Kunis has already worked for the first-time silver screen director for over ten years, as the voice of the tortured character Meg in Family Guy. She’s use to his humor and knew what to expect when she took the role in Ted, although she did have trouble keeping a straight face; like when Ted crashes his car while driving drunk and says, “Sorry, I was sending a tweet,” or when Ted is looking up someone’s wrapped bath towel and says, “Swear to god, I am not looking at your funny business.”
The film is brilliantly executed, hilariously funny, and also mildly thought-provoking. It may elicit a negative response from people who believe comedy shouldn’t push the envelope, but most people are going to lap up every minute of this movie and leave the cinema asking for a sequel.