Ted (2012)






THE SCOOP
Director:  Seth MacFarlane
Cast:  Mark WahlbergMila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane
Plot:  As the result of a childhood wish, John Bennett's teddy bear, Ted, came to life and has been by John's side ever since - a friendship that's tested when Lori, John's girlfriend of four years, wants more from their relationship.

Genre:  Comedy / Fantasy

Awards:  Nom. for 1 Oscar - Best Original Song
Runtime:  106min
Rating:  M18 (cut version) for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use.

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)

Oh, where are my manners?  Lori, this is Angelique, Heavenly, Charene, and Sauvignon Blanc.  I love you girls.  Y'know, somewhere out there are four terrible fathers I wish I could thank for this great night!

You are never too old to like soft toys. I am 24, but I still hug my Snoopy to sleep every night. I wish to the Blue Fairy to turn it into a real creature, but I am no Gepetto. I suspect Seth MacFarlane longed for a real teddy bear when he was young. Now he has created a character that comes close to fulfilling the collective dream of young boys and girls. Or maybe just cheeky boys.

Writer-director MacFarlane becomes the Blue Fairy, and the result is a film that is expectedly funny, yet unexpectedly touching in ways that remind of films like Knocked Up (2007).

Ted is the title of the film, and the name of the brown teddy bear that Mark Walhberg's character, John Bennett, has been living with for the last three decades. Despite being made up of cotton wool and artificial fur, he is no kid's toy. He spews vulgarities, enjoys the company of women, and loves to inhale gas made up of drugs.

In comes Lori Collins (Mila Kunis), devoted girlfriend of John, who tries to break him away from his 'thunder buddy'. The film then charts the triangular relationship and tension among the three key characters through a series of set-pieces that starts off from being inherently comedic and farcical to something that resembles a pseudo-thriller.

A animated toy bear integrated in a live-action setting is an intriguing concept; Spielberg knew that when he was making A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001). But here, MacFarlane intrigues us even further by humanizing a toy bear, created and animated via digital effects, and placing him in the heart of human consciousness and behaviour.

MacFarlane's script does not go overboard with the quantity of jokes. Instead he sees comedy as more dramatic and situational that could be built, rather than a series of offhand remarks that may or may not tickle the funny bone. Still, it is a witty script with gleeful references to popular culture, including a beloved one to Aliens (1986).

The final ten minutes or so may feel a little contrived, and its pacing too quick for the average viewer to fully absorb the emotional ramifications of the entire sequence. But thankfully, MacFarlane is able to squeeze in some sort of redemptive quality to the proceeding, and hence allowing his film to come into terms with the kind of emotions that it intends to draw out from the audience.

Will there be a sequel? I don't think anyone will mind, considering how the film has turned out. And yes, it has turned out like a dream. While dreams are by no means perfect, they are fun while they last.

Verdict:  A womanizing, vulgarity-spewing and drug-loving stuffed teddy bear makes us laugh our asses off and warms our asses back in, well, what could possibly be better than th... Ted?

GRADE: B+ (8/10 or 3.5 stars)








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