Once upon a time a small, socially awkward child wishes for his teddy bear to come to life and be his best friend forever. The small boy gets his wish and his cute little bear comes to life, startling his parents, becoming a national sensation and ultimately falling by the wayside like every other fad. Through all this the bear and the small boy remain friends, never parting ways. The story of Ted is not about that small, socially awkward boy though, but rather the man child that has grown out of that boy and his rather awkward relationship with his talking teddy bear.
That small boy, John (Mark Wahlberg) is now an assistant manager at a local rental car company. Most days he shows up late for work because he sits in his apartment smoking weed with his bear, Ted (voiced by director Seth MacFarlane). John has a lovely and successful girlfriend in Lori (Mila Kunis) and they have been dating for quite some time. Lori has reached an impasse with the relationship though and wants to move to the next level, however to do so, John must grow up and leave Ted behind.
After years of working with animation, Ted marks Seth MacFarlane’s foray into directing live action feature films and it is something of a mixed bag. While MacFarlane certainly demonstrates his ability to string pop culture references and crass language into something quite funny, his actual storytelling leaves a lot to be desired.
Ted’s story mostly comes across as an excuse to string the antics of John and Ted together. While MacFarlane tries to tell a story about John and Ted spiraling downward, effectively destroying John and Lori’s relationship, he never succeeds in making anyone believe the two friends forever will ever change. And because of a weird and completely sloppy plotline featuring Giovanni Ribisi as a crazy Ted stalker, which serves up the climactic finish, the redemptive arc of both Ted and John feels utterly wasted.
However, if viewed outside of the shoddy storytelling and rather more as a sequence of five minute skits, the film does feature some fantastically crass comedy. Wahlberg buys in fully to his character and everyone else in the cast seems to be having a blast with their roles making the downpoints seem less of a detraction. And the scenes where Wahlberg and Ted go completely crazy make Ted a purely enjoyable, if somewhat unmemorable, summer film.
3 / 5