Ted review

Review Ron Hogan 2 Jul 2012 - 06:23

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane turns to feature films with the comedy Ted. Ron finds out whether the transition's been a successful one...

In mid-1980s Massachusetts, young John Bennett is the loneliest kid in the neighborhood. He doesn't have any friends, and in fact he's so ignored he can't even get beaten up by the local bullies. At Christmas, when John's parents give him a great big teddy bear, that bear becomes John's best friend almost instantly. They go on adventures, they read and talk late at night. John loves Ted; the only problem is, Ted's not a real friend. That is, until John makes a fateful wish and his fuzzy friend becomes a real-life person. Err, bear.

Ted becomes an instant sensation, but that kind of fame never lasts forever. However, when you're thunder buddies, you're thunder buddies for life. Hence, 27 years later, John (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted (voice of Seth MacFarlane, shape by Satan's minions via CGI) are still the best of friends, pounding beers, watching sports, and indulging in a serious weed habit together. John's a counter monkey at a rental car service, while his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) is some sort of corporate high-riser with a great salary, a sleazy boss named Rex (Joel McHale), and a serious problem with Ted.

Unfortunately for Teddy and John, the friction between best friend and girlfriend can sometimes be too much for both relationships. After a confrontation, Ted moves out. He gets a crappy apartment over a chow mein shop, a lousy job, and a white-trash girlfriend. Seems like Ted's getting his stuff together, right? Not so fast, my friends; there's also the little matter of Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), who is a little too into Ted for Ted's own good.

If you like everything Seth MacFarlane does, then you'll probably love Ted. It's got all the classic hallmarks of a MacFarlane joint. There's the bare skeleton of a plot, scatological humor, cut-away gags, random stuff happening, a pointless, overly-long fight scene, and multiple incidents of drinking and drug-taking. There's also more pop culture references than you can shake a cliché at, because why would Seth MacFarlane try to be funny without taking the shortest and easiest route to a punchline possible?

The script is a 106-minute Family Guy episode in every way possible. It's scatter shot and opts for unfocused shotgun blasts in the general direction of humour rather than pinpoint bullets right to the funny bone. There are some laughs to be found, including a couple of real screamers in the beginning courtesy of Patrick Stewart's opening voice-over. Like a lot of MacFarlane comedy, once you get over the initial shock of a teddy bear cursing and smoking pot, the laughter fades. It doesn't help that MacFarlane has only three character voices – Stewie, Stan Smith, and Peter – and he does two of them during this movie. (Ted is Peter, and for some reason Ted also lapses into Stewie at one point; this is probably a nod to MacFarlane's fan base.)

The film's wobbliness is due in no small part to the inconsistent script from MacFarlane and his co-conspirators Wellesley Wild and Alec Sulkin. It keeps firing jokes throughout its run time, but it slips abruptly from a romantic bromedy with stoners to a kidnapping plot and redemption story, completely with heavy-handed musical cues designed to remind you to feel something. What the movie demands you feel from moment to moment depends on the music, and not any real sentiment generated by the story.

To say that Seth MacFarlane is a subtle director would be to redefine subtle completely. Ted's a jerk, John is an idiot, and Lori is a shrew who is tolerated mostly because she's hot. There's a turn at the end of the film, but it's abrupt. Like all of his projects, Ted is a glimpse into MacFarlane as a person, from his interest in 80s sci-fi and his love of drinking and drug humour to his attitudes on pop culture and his love of self-referential humor. To MacFarlane's credit, the movie has a manic energy to it, without feeling rushed, but it's not exactly an action movie.

The film starts out well, but falls apart as it goes on and Ted's concept grows thin. The cast is talented but wasted, especially supporting players like Patrick Warburton, Joel McHale, and Giovanni Ribisi. Relationships never really seem to develop, and the movie seems as though MacFarlane came up with the pitch but never really developed past the initial idea that it would be funny to see a stuffed bear doing cocaine with Flash Gordon.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan would have probably put Ted into a wood chipper by the time he was 24, though he has a beloved teddy bear from when he was a baby. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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I think you were watching a different movie, buddy.

Ah, the DoG 2 star contrary reviews continue...

Wow, someone has a sense of humour fail. Why is the film being reviewed by someone who is clearly prejudiced against MacFarlane's brand of humour and condescending towards people who do like it, as clearly evidenced by the snark-filled 4th paragraph? People in my theatre were in stitches throughout the whole movie and the A- Cinemascore is evidence of how well-received the film was.

"If you like everything Seth MacFarlane does, then you'll probably love Ted.""The script is a 106-minute Family Guy episode in every way possible."
Based on these two quotes, the film should be at least a 4 star for the target audience of MacFarlane fans.

Starting to think Dens reviews are designed to generate discussion rather than actually give an honest review.Now if they give DKR 2 out of 5 stars then all hell will break loose. ; )

Almost every Review of this film has said the same thing; McFarlane is a hack. This only makes me more determined to enjoy it. He may not be original, or particularly clever, but I work long hours and at the end of the week I want dumb laughs, I don't want to think. I want to go out with my girlfriend, get some food and see a movie. There's room for dumbness, embrace it! You might enjoy yourself.

DoG gives a film 2 stars: I'll be there on opening night!

Despite what the reviewer thinks, TED had me and my friends laughing from beginning to end...along with the rest of the theater for the packed midnight release we went to. If you expect more than a live-action episode of FAMILY GUY then you will be sorely disappointed. It certainly won't win an Oscar, but as a comedy, it worked for me.

Looks like a mix between Wilfred and anything MacFarlane's done before in a feature length. I'll definitely be there, I think it looks fantastic, and it bound to be funny.

This review is almost enough for me to unsubscribe from DoG....Seth is a genious who has made millions at the expense of a generation of ironically funny shows, which for the most part resonates a time when things were just simpler, but it may introduce said era to a younger iPhone obsessed generation. Bring on Ted 2!!!!

Wow 4 comments by Jimbotfu... you don't happen to have a crush on Seth do you?

i´ve never seen family guy or other of his stuff, but i really liked the movie, don't know what the reviewer is talking about, to much deconstruction in this review, not necessary, A lot of words without any practical meaning...

American Dad and Family Guy were truly funny, bordering on genius until for the first 3 series, then there was a steady decline. South Park got Family Guy completely right. MacFarlane is no doubt a funny guy, but just not as funny as he thinks he is.

Another thread of people complaining about a review of a film, despite the fact that they're yet to see the film in question.

He states that the film is like one long Family Guy episode and that if we like Family Guy, we'll like this. He then proceeds to insult Family Guy and its brand of humor. Most commenters are complaining about the review because of the condescending snarky dismissal of Family Guy's, and by the writer's own extension, Ted's humor. Also, the film was released in the US 3 days ago so many of us have seen the film.

I loved Family Guy for the first three seasons; since then the show has gone downhill and I think everyone honest can admit that. This is like later Family Guy, not early Family Guy.

Should Den of Geek have got a Family Guy fan review this movie because that would be "fair"? The reviewer says that "if you like Family Guy, you'll like this" so that would be a foregone conclusion and a guaranteed 4 stars.

Would you be happy then?

Or should we just accept that the people who review comedies may not have the exact same sense of humour as other people?

And this is a UK site, by the way, so I wager that most of the criticism is coming from people who haven't seen the movie.

Michael B has said it better than I can.Also as has already been said,DoG seem to be just courting controversy.Does more people posting increase advertising revenue or something.It seems your comment is JUST a complaint.You should change your username to Daisy Steiner. lol.

This movie was awesome, I saw it on friday and believe that it is a great movie. It had me laughing from beginning to end. I think this review is incredibly one sided, I miss the days where someone could see a movie and not be brain washed into thinking that one review online makes everyone feel that way. Its a good movie and I feel that this is one of the best comedies I have seen lately.

One of the best reviews, finally one that recognizes the moronic nature of this film. Keep up the good work you guys.

A review from someone in the target audience is more valuable than one from someone who isn't, especially one who holds the type of film in contempt. Would you trust a review of The Hobbit from a guy who hated The Lord of the Rings? The target audience of The Hobbit would be the same as that for LotR, and that review would be of very little value to them. 'If you love LotR, then you would love The Hobbit' hardly cuts it. I for one would prefer to hear from a reviewer who, like me, enjoyed LotR as we would be going to see the film with similar expectations.

How dare you have an opinion that doesn't match that of several people who have read this review? Some of you guys need to relax a bit. Different strokes for different folks and all that. If you want the reviews to say exactly what you want them to say write them yourself.

"It doesn't help that MacFarlane has only three character voices –
Stewie, Stan Smith, and Peter – and he does two of them during this
movie."
I would disagree with this. Say what you will about Seth MacFarlane, but he is a damn good voice actor. He voices about half the recurring cast of Family Guy, and a lot of them have completely different voices. (Does Brian count, since that's Seth's normal speaking voice?) Not to mention Roger from American Dad. If it was Seth MacFarlane bashing I wanted, I'd go to the AV Club.

i think manatees wrote this film

It's not the job of a critic to cherry-pick the films they watch which they'll be predisposed to appreciate. What would be the point of that?

And you're saying the people who don't like LotR can't offer a review of The Hobbit? What rubbish. ANY film is going to be clouded by your own predispositions before you watch it ("This looks great because of x", "This looks awful because of y" etc). Some of the best films are the ones that change your opinion.

An example : before I watched "In Bruges", I wasn't keen on seeing it because I couldn't stand Colin Farrell. After seeing the (excellent) film, I've completely revised my opinion on him.

I was genuinely interested in "Ted" as I thought the premise looked interesting. However, I see from this review that it's just reliant on the same kind of humour that has blighted Family Guy (which I dislike) and is best avoided. You, meanwhile, presumably like Family Guy so will see this film irrespective of this review and probably enjoy it.

>Still taking there reviews seriously when they gave Red Tails a 3/5

I guess the NY times are also courting controversy with their negative review. Lord knows, they need the publicity.  

My comment is my opinion. When you understand this idea, you're a step closer to handling bad reviews of movies you want to see.

The best thing about Family Guy etc. is that if it's a poor one, it's over before you've had time to get comfy in your chair and next week's will probably be better.

Not sure I want that in a movie especially if a bear swearing and doing, you know, adult type stuff (fnar fnar) is the high point.

Still the guy's given us some good TV in the past and it's nice to see other people get a turn at directing dismal comedies, hopefully now that bugbear's out of his system he'll stick to where he belongs, in a TV script meeting.

Not everybody likes or even has an opinion on Seth McFarlane, I have watched maybe 10 minutes total of American Dad and nothing of the rest of output and have no opinion whatsoever, so saying "it's by Seth doing his thing, slobber, drool" would not help me out at all, but this review pointing out that that it is closer to South Park than my favorite comedies like The Thick of It, Yes (P)M, Frazier and Blackadder makes me far less likely to watch the film, I will of course look out for other reviews but this was a helpful review IMHO.

Sounds like you've got issues relating to Macfarlanes other work.I thought it was a solid 3 out of 5.Agree with above comment that DoGs reviews seem designed to provoke fan reaction.Just look at Prometheus and ASM boards.And this.

They should have got Seth Macfarlane to review it. :-)

Ha ha.Imagine that.There would be a Bane style uprising.

So your saying we can't be critical of critics.

I thought the Prometheus review was fair, actually, and this one is a good one too. The humour in this film is just McFarlane's trademark schtick all over and if you like that then you'll like this film a lot. If you don't like that, or are sick of seeing it in the three McFarlane shows currently airing, then you won't like it. Simple. All the reviewers can do is give their honest opinion on the film they saw, and how they felt about it - the star rating system is totally subjective and you should be mentally adding or subtracting a star anyway depending on how you feel about the other stuff McFarlane's done.

*you're, and you're missing a question mark.

Sorry, I'm being critical of the people being critical of critics.

Eh.You're criticising my grammar.Look at your own post.Reads like a same head wrote it.Or were you being ironic.LOL

I've mentally subtracted a star regarding your post. ;-)

joeSquo troll.People are just having a debate feller.No need.

Hey guys, Ron just gave his opinion on the movie as he saw it, nothing more, no less. We all enjoy different things :) He could have phrased his discussion of Ted’s voice a little differently, but I very much doubt that he wrote this review to generate controversy or to increase viewers to DOG.

Who mentioned South Park? Unless you're trying to group South Park in with the Family Guy school of humour, which is not cool. I could explain why but it was explained much more articulately by Eric Cartman during "Cartoon Wars". (I love The Thick of It and Blackadder too)

I wasn't saying people can't criticise critics. I was merely saying people need to chill out a bit. Reviews are reviews you can't please everyone. I think having a go at Den of Geek because they're not giving films the scores are expecting them to especially before they've actually seen the films is a bit stupid. That's all.

I think this holds true only of genre pieces, if at all, but not for mainstream movies. It also depends who you're reviewing it for. If the readers of a review are going to be hardcore fans, it might be a good idea for a review to come from someone who can connect with that fan-base: another hardcore fan. That doesn't apply here.

"Would you trust a review of The Hobbit from a guy who hated The Lord of the Rings?"

Why would I trust a review of The Hobbit from a guy who loved The Lord of the Rings any more or less? As long as the review is honestly given, doesn't that give me the best chance to evaluate for myself?

All this anger below the line on DoG - has it been here all along, bubbling under, but obscured because so few people could be bothered to overcome the old crappy comments system?

Den of Troll?

How sad.

I am disorientated and stunned by your wit. A brilliant contribution to the debate there Cicero.

And this comes from the guy who picks up people on their grammar.I thought it was hilarious.

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