Review by Sean Lynch
Seth MacFarlane's foray into the world of cinema was always going to go one of two ways. Showbiz is a ruthless mistress, and his debut film Ted could have only have landed in the realm of blockbuster or flop thanks largely to his TV background and the mixture of die hard fans and equally devoted deriders.
Luckily for MacFarlene, Ted turned out not only to be a success, but a global smash hit on the scale that no one thought even possible. In what should have been little more than a middling cult success, Ted went on to become the highest grossing R Rated Original comedy ever, beating out The Hangover, on it's way to a global haul in excess of $496M. The real kicker to this fairy tale story is that the flick only cost roughly 10% to produce... and in the land of Hollyweird... that's a Golden Ticket to the big time!
So, the question is, is Ted worthy of it's Blockbuster status? Well, yeah, it kind of is.
As a result of a childhood wish, John Bennett's (Mark Wahlberg) teddy bear, Ted (voiced by MacFarlene), comes to life and sticks by Johns side every day from then on. It's an unbeatable friendship which see's Ted live the high life of a C-Grade celeb (which, as all showbiz tales goes, crumbles after the 15 minutes of fame window closes) but is finally tested when Lori (Mila Kunis) wants more from her and John's relationship.
Ted is nothing more than a thinly veiled Family Guy episode. In fact, there are several gags from the cult animated show that find their way into the flick and the movie is much stronger for it. MacFarlene has never been one to really push himself outside of his comfort zone. While for many this stands as a sign of weakness, it does ultimately have it's advantages. MacFarlene, for all his faults, knows what he does well - so doesn't mess with the formula.
The chemistry between Wahlberg and Ted is wonderful, and it's MacFarlene's ability to capture the true essence of every-day dialogue and rhythms that makes all of his products so accessible. He is a master of it.
If there is one problem with Ted, it's its uneasiness with trying to juggle to formats. While jam packed with jokes and hilarious crude humour, it's nowhere near as crazy as Family Guy fans might hope for. On the other side of the coin, the romance subplot squeezed in is less hardly satisfying for those looking for a traditional rom com. So what you're left with is a film which clearly wants to drive above the speed limit, but has it's mum in the passenger seat yelling "Slow down, what do you need to go so fast for?".
Hopefully with the success of Ted, MacFarlene will be given 100% free reign to go as far as he needs to with his follow up (which you can guarantee won't stray to far from the style and format of his cartoon franchises or Ted itself) and comedy loving audiences will be punched in the face with the unadulterated comedy barrage that MacFarlene is not only capable of... but clearly wants to unleash.
All those negatives aside, it's still easily the best comedy to be seen in a long long time... if only because it's a comedy that contains jokes in a "situation over jokes" era of comedy.
Fans also can expect plenty of extras on the DVD and Blu Ray editions, including Deleted and alternate scenes, a very funny and worthwhile Feature Commentary with Seth McFarlane and Mark Wahlberg, Gag Reel and the run of the mill Making Of.
Well worth checking out.
Conclusion: Movie 85% Extras: 70%