‘Ted’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated November 26th, 2014 at 6:59 pm,

Mark Wahlberg Seth MacFarlane Ted Ted Review

While it’s not going to be for everyone, moviegoers who are onboard with Ted’s campy premise and crude antics will likely find that MacFarlane has delivered an entertaining live-action comedy debut.

Despite a batch of live-action guest appearances on shows ranging from Gilmore Girls to Star Trek: Enterprise, writer, director, and producer Seth MacFarlane is known best for his contributions to TV animation. MacFarlane is responsible for the creation of fan-favorite animated series including Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show – not to mention, the voice work behind iconic characters such as Brian and Stewie Griffin, as well as Stan Smith.

In Ted, MacFarlane is taking the talking animal shtick he’s perfected with Brian (not to mention Tim the Bear) on TV, and delivering similar, albeit even cruder, comedy hijinks on the silver screen. Does MacFarlane, paired with Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, successfully make a jump to the live-action movie arena with an enjoyable  – albeit campy – comedy offering?

Fortunately, MacFarlane’s trademark mix of cutting satire and slapstick comedy setups is working its charm in Ted, delivering plenty of laughs, and even a little heart, for anyone who can handle the film’s risque onscreen escapades.

At first glance, audiences might mistake the movie for little more than a crude exploitation of 1980s megatoy, Teddy Ruxpin, but MacFarlane (who makes his feature directorial debut with the film) successfully balances the absurd and over-the-top elements of Ted with a number of grounded, albeit familiar, statements on love and friendship. That said, despite presenting a number of genuinely sweet moments, the film isn’t going to be for everyone and moviegoers who aren’t interested in watching a stuffed Teddy Bear hump a grocery card keypad (which is only the tip of the iceberg) should probably look elsewhere.

Seth MacFarlane Ted Ted Review

Seth MacFarlane voices Ted

As mentioned, many of Ted‘s biggest laughs play on the absurdity of an undisciplined talking Teddy Bear who, despite his cute and cuddly exterior, is more interested in hookers and smoking weed than hugs and snuggling. The film kicks off with eight-year-old John Bennett who, despite his best efforts, has trouble making friends and instead wishes his Teddy Bear, Ted, into life. The “miracle” is quickly picked up by national news agencies and Ted becomes an ’80s icon. Over two decades pass and John (Mark Wahlberg) is in a steady relationship with girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) – while Ted, who still lives with the couple, spends the majority of his time getting high and watching reruns of twenty-year-old television shows. Despite his best efforts as a partner, Lori calls John out for failing to grow up and encourages him to move Ted out. Ted agrees, but the move has unexpected ramifications – putting strain on the trio’s relationship, as well as exposing the celebrity bear to harm from the outside world.

Without question, the core Ted story will be especially familiar to anyone who has seen a bromance film or a similar thirty-something coming of age tale before. Had the movie not featured a sex-crazed talking stuffed animal, it’d be easy to write Ted off as a formulaic and predictable series of events that fails to offer anything but formulaic characters in service of one comedy setup after another. However, watching the surprisingly lifelike animated Teddy Bear performing even the most basic actions (such as driving a car) never gets old, and as a result, even the formulaic elements of the plot are easily heightened by the unabashed absurdity of the setup. Of course, there are also plenty of fresh comedy gags as well – not to mention loads of ’80s throwbacks that pull double duty in providing a number of laugh out loud setups, as well as humanizing the stuffed protagonist (i.e. he’s really into Flash Gordon).

The cast includes plenty of stilted interactions, especially between Wahlberg and Ted, but none of these moments detract from the overall enjoyment of the experience – since everyone on screen is clearly operating with their tongue firmly planted against the side of their cheek. Mila Kunis once again successfully flexes her comedy muscle and, despite serving in a supporting role this round, has some of the more enjoyable (and heartfelt) scenes with the bear. Joel McHale’s Rex and Giovanni Ribisi’s Donny are equally entertaining, albeit exceptionally one-note, which describes most of the characters in the film: thin but entertaining vehicles for either physical or one-liner comedy.

Mark Wahlberg Mila Kunis Ted Ted Review

Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis in ‘Ted’

Interestingly enough, MacFarlane’s Ted, who was brought to onscreen life through the director’s motion capture as well as animation work by Tippett Studio and Iloura, is the most realized of the characters (not to mention hauntingly real-looking), offering a fun relief from the bloated sea of scaly alien creatures we usually see CGI’d into existence.

Ultimately, Ted successfully manages to move from one comedy set piece to the next with an adequate fantasy character drama stitched into the mix. The thematic elements are thin and the points hammered again and again by the film aren’t going to encourage moviegoers to ponder the nature of friendship and growing up while on their way home from the theater; however, anyone familiar with MacFarlane’s brand of comedy knows that social satire and over-the-top gags come first. As a result, it’s a relief that he spent time injecting heart into the mix at all, even if the emotional cues are funneled through familiar story beats.

While it’s not going to be for everyone, moviegoers who are onboard with Ted‘s campy premise and crude antics will likely find that MacFarlane has delivered an entertaining live-action comedy debut. Outside of the premise, the scene to scene narrative elements don’t offer many surprises, but considering they revolve around an R-Rated talking Teddy Bear, most scenes still manage to present plenty of fresh laughs and, from time to time, heart/stuffing-warming character moments.

If you’re still on the fence about Ted, check out the red-band trailer below:

[poll id=”339″]

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Ted is Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use. Now playing in theaters.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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  1. wow, color me surprised.

  2. Can’t wait to see this tonight. I love all seth mcfarlene’s shows and think he’s just hilarious. Pretty excited.

  3. Awesome, guess I’ll be seeing it in the cinema after all.

  4. I want to see this in the theater but with TASM coming out in a few days I’m going to have to wait until it hits Blu-ray. It’s to bad because the red band trailer is hilarious.

  5. Definitely see this over Magic Mike.

  6. did you guys get paid to give it a good review? really seems like it.

    either that, or you got so overwhelmed by its crude/risque/offensive jokes, that you didn’t really see that it was just a boring by the numbers comedy, with little thought given to it creatively or in its jokes.

    i am a BIG fan of crude/risque/offensive humor, because it ignores the boundaries of things you can make fun of, and just focuses on being funny as hell with all the sources they can get. and sometimes it can even be a little intelligent and be a subtle satire. but this wasn’t any of those things. it was just an extended trip of potty humor.

    if you don’t really get ‘shocked’ by crude/risque/offensive stuff, like me, then sit this one out.

    • *and have a subtle satire.

    • dude, really? some one cant have a taste that is diffrent from yours with out being a seel out? Go troll some place else.

      • ugh, sell, out, not seel out…come oooooon edit button to screenrant!

      • “some one cant have a taste that is diffrent from yours…?”
        “Go troll some place else”

        i have a different opinion to yours. and you were SO unable to process it that you had to rationalize it to mean that i am a troll. you contradict yourself, and thus you argument collapses in itself.

      • “some one cant have a taste that is diffrent from yours…?”
        “Go troll some place else”

        i have a different opinion to yours. and you were SO unable to process it that you had to rationalize it to mean that i am a troll. you contradict yourself, and thus you argument collapses in itself. do not reply if you cannot do so without sounding like a bumbling id.iot.

    • It’s a “gross out” comedy and you are over thinking it.

      • i am not overthinking it. i am telling the reviewer why the movie isn’t as intelligent as his review suggests.

        • You are what is wrong with the male image these days.If your not male (and that seems very likely), then maybe I’ll donate a few bucks to your boyfriend so he can go buy a bullet and blow his brains out.

    • Hey dude…you wanna calm down? People can have their opinions, and if you go on Rotten Tomatoes, a pretty dang good amount of people enjoyed it was well.

      You have your opinion on it and everybody else has theirs. Nothing wrong with that. Just don’t childishly berate people for disagreeing with you on something as miniscule as a movie…it makes you look pathetic coming on here and ranting like that…

  7. I despise Seth McFarlane and his brand of humor, (insert rant here*) so I doubt I would see this even if it got 5 stars

    • No rant from me because I agree with you Gooch.

      I use to love Family guy in it’s first couple of seasons,but neither the show,nor Seth are doing anything funny anymore.

      It seems like he has some sort of talking animal fetish as well.Everything he does has to have it.Stale.

      • EXACTLY! All of it is the same formula. With the cartoons, it is the same formula every time. I just see this as an uncensored family guy.

        The first 3 or 4 seasons were great, but South Park may have killed it for me. They are dead on with their analysis of it, just random jokes that are chosen via balls from manatees. When I saw that, Family Guy made sense and died entirely for me. Haven’t laughed at one joke since season 4 or so.

        • Since I’ve never seen any of these cartoons, but like some of these offensive humor movies (The Hangover, Horrible Bosses), do you think I may like this one?

    • Personally, I hate Family Guy, but I enjoyed the movie. Its hilarious and a lot sweeter than you’d think. I’m pretty sure that most McFarlane haters might enjoy it.

  8. Alot of comedies this weekend.I’ll wait to see this on DVD though.Better this than Medea.

  9. I rarely pay to watch anything that doesn’t strike me as utter brilliance, but I’ll definitely download it when it hits the newsgroups :) A break from serious cinema (hell, LIFE) is good every once in a while, regardless of how simple it may be. McFarlane just cashes in on that cause he realizes how important it is, and how ignorant the majority of the American population is to hand him money and TV ratings for it. He’s brilliant in that aspect. Don’t be mad because you can’t make your living feeding the sheep :D.

  10. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I think it’s true if you do not enjoy MacFalane’s sense of humor probably shouldn’t bother, me I love it and watch all 3 of his toons although I admit they are losing steam.

    Anyway, funny and enough heart for me to give it a thumbs up

  11. I couldn’t disagree more. I saw this film based on this review and I’m very disappointed. It’s a rental at best. All the funny parts I already saw online. My recommendation would be to sit this one out.

  12. I saw it today and thought it was hilarious. Also had a couple of nice cameos.

  13. I saw this Friday night and thought it was great. There were a ton of one liners. -Mila Kunis somehow has managed to get even HOTTER (F my life).

    • The girl playing Tami-Lynn was even hotter

  14. The movie was great, when I went to see it a lot of kids where there, like not only teenagers (they where a given to see anything related to family guy) but parents bringing five – ten year old kids. I would not want to be asked by my five year old “daddy whys the bear putting lotion on his face like that?” Anyway, the other group (teenagers) didn’t understand half of the 80’s references (showing my age here) in the movie but it was still entertaining for them. The movie was all around fun; just don’t think its right for the little ones.

    • I know!

      I was at a screening, and half of the people in attendance with kids under 8.

    • I don’t get why parents do that. The movie I was in had kids in it as well; all I could do was shake my head. I guess I’m just an old prude.

  15. overall raunchy and hilarious but felt some of the scenes stilted and flat with just ted and mark wahlberg

  16. Saw it opening night. If it wasn’t for the 4 other friends that came with my GF and I, we would of walked out at the 30 minute mark. It’s an extra long and somewhat dry Family Guy episode. Save your money. Rental at best or watch the trailer to get the funny parts. Love family, but this film fell short on a lot of levels.

  17. This movie is definitely a rental viewing. After watching it I had a flash back to the opening scene of that god aweful Simpson’s Movie. Why did I pay good money to see this on the big screen when I could have watched the same thing on one of his three shows? Yes there were funny parts and yes there were heart warming parts, but for the most part it was the same as his Family Guy, American Dad, and Cleveland Show. Stale toilet humor, talking animals, and rehashed jokes. McFarlane needs to up his game and change his comedic formula. Family Guy was funny for the first three or four seasons, but quickly became another Simpsons reusing tired out dated jokes over and over. I had high hopes for Ted. Was hoping to see a great comedy, but was let down. Is this what comedy has become? Rehashed toilet and drug related humor? I give Ted a 2. 1 for the cast and 1 for an attempt at what could have been a really great comedy.

  18. I watched “Ted” today and I think it was good. It wasn’t the best comedy I saw but i like that kind of humor and I enjoyed that movie.

  19. I watched “Ted” today and I like it. It wasn’t the best comedy I saw but I like that kind of humor and I enjoyed that movie.

  20. Horrible.Just finished it. It’s basically family guy with weed. You’ve basically dressed up a giant turd and trotted it out for all to see. It’s formulaic, (sp?) boring and barring a few small moments generally unfunny. The acting is sub par, proves singing with a new jersey accent is like listening to a cat being hit by a train, and that despite his amazing acting skills in shows like star trek, that Patrick Stewart will do anything. Also, Mila Kunis. All around, horrible.

  21. This was an awesome movie. It was extremely funny with great one liners. The fact of the matter is this… If you are easily offended, don’t bother. Mcfarline’s comedy likes to push the boundaries (as seen if family guy) and I enjoy that. Did it have a great story? No. But if you want to go watch a movie that will just have you in stitches, then go watch this!

  22. I did like this film but I was expecting more from it. I guess Family Guy really set the bar.

  23. To Renji and all the haters: We know exactly what to expect from Seth MacFarlane; one grain of salt just is not enough! If you don’t like it, don’t go (and definitely don’t hate the people who do enjoy a simple film like this one). This is, for example, the reason I went to this film with my best mate, not my wife… You just don’t take your girl to the strip club and you definitely dont come home and post an intelligent well-thought-of critique about the stripper’s sense of humour on stripperrant.com. Think of this film as a strip club: as long as you don’t touch or take the strippers home with you, it’s just good clean fun. What I mean is that maybe the film should start with a “don’t try this at home” warning!

    Having said that… I have not laughed as hard as I did watching this film for ages! I mean gasping-for-air, tears in your eyes, stomach ache kind of laugh! And so was the rest of the crowd at the movie theater (expect for the guys who took their girlfriends along… you could catch them trying to hide their smirks seeing their chances of getting lucky later that night vanishing away with every dirty, sexist, tacky one liner).

    If you are thinking of going to watch this film, I say take your trusted beer drinking buddies with you and don’t analyze it… just role with the jokes and enjoy a bit of simple good old fashion man jokes.

  24. I really like the movie. Absolutely FUNNY!Good idea using teddy bear as the main character. All those line by Ted if given to human actor will definitely makes the movie irritating.

  25. I didn’t know what to expect….but it worked, Wahlberg’s hapless lead bounces nicely off Macfarlane gutter wit to produce relatable characters with sole