Mark Wahlberg has experience working with goofy, curly-haired costars, having starred opposite Will Ferrell in this summer’s The Other Guys. He’ll get to repeat the act in Seth MacFarlane’s directorial debut, the comedy Ted.
Wahlberg will play a grown man from Boston whose best friend is a life-sized teddy bear – one who came to life after the kid version of Wahlberg’s character made a wish. Family Guy creator MacFarlane will provide the vocals for the titular bear, who will be brought to life via CGI.
The plot of Ted revolves around Wahlberg’s character as he attempts to fully commit to the woman he loves and how his efforts are continually thwarted by the presence of a foul-mouthed, slackster toy bear in his life. Ted will basically be in the vein of Judd Apatow comedies like The 40 Year-Old Version or Knocked Up – with the twist being that the male lead wants to be more mature and responsible, but is literally being held back by his childhood.
Ted is budgeted at $65 million and will undoubtedly feature lots of low-brow humor, crude language, and R-Rated gags (it is by the guy who gave us Stewie Griffin, after all). MacFarlane’s cartoon creations are all pretty edgy in tone, as far as network comedy shows go, and Ted will feature the kind of jokes that TV censors simply won’t allow.
Wahlberg is best known for playing macho men like Max Payne or Staff Sgt. Dignam in The Departed, and he’s been less successful in roles that require him to be more of the sensitive type (admittedly, he was far from the only problem in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening). The visual incongruity that will be the sight of Wahlberg acting opposite a giant teddy bear should be entertaining enough, on its own.
The bigger concern about Ted is that MacFarlane and his co-screenwriters won’t be able to come up with enough funny jokes to sustain a full-length feature. Half-hour TV shows are one thing and very much lend themselves to irreverent humor that is littered with pop culture references; it gets trickier when the run time gets extended out to ninety minutes or more.