The Establishing Shot: Ted Review Ted is fun with the best house party ever seen on screen

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

TED Seth MacFarlaneEarlier this week I got to see Ted the new comedy from Family Guy & American Dad creator and funny man, Seth MacFarlane. Making big screen comedies is a risky business these days and I'm not going to lie my expectations were quite high as both Family Guy and American Dad! have moments of absolute genius hilarity and I was hoping given a big screen opportunity and pick of Hollywood talent (Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton) that those hilarious moments from his TV shows would be the rule rather than the exception.

Video: Ted - Trailer

Unfortunately, not so much. That is, not to say that Ted is not funny as with Family Guy & American Dad! there are peaks of laugh out loud insanity (Popcorn coming out of my nose funny) and some great surreal moments with nods to 80s cinema nostalgia like Flash Gordon (if you are a fan of Flash Gordon I urge you to see Ted, you won't be disappointed with those all to brief moments) and Airplane! or Flying High as I know it – but too much of the film's focus is on the light emotional development of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) as he tries to embrace adulthood and a mature relationship with Collins (Mila Kunis) and leave his childhood best friend Ted (Seth MacFarlane) a wisecracking talking teddy bear behind.

Ted Mark Wahlberg, Ted & Mila Kunis in bed
Image: Ted Mark Wahlberg, Ted & Mila Kunis in bed
Ted is flawed, the emotional content isn't emotional enough to have real meaning and there is not enough genius hilarity, it is a bold foray from Seth MacFarlane to get what is inside his head onto the screen - but there are signs that he is holding back cautiously to see how the paying public accepts his vision past animated TV shows. Despite the crass and mostly hilarious dialogue it doesn't have the edgy adult sharpness of either Family Guy or American Dad! And further weaknesses are exposed when MacFarlane has to string the set up pieces into a narrative as well as develop a plot that despite Ted's un-PC attitude eventually lacks originality and comes across as every childhood film you have seen featuring a favourite toy.

Performances are great across the cast, especially given the incredulous premise; Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Giovanni Ribisi are exactly what you would expect given their talent, Sir Patrick Stewart continues his sublime hilarious voice overs as in Family Guy and American Dad! (worth the price of a ticket alone) and apart from the many, many surprise cameos that pop up that will have you in giggles - Patrick Warburton delivers with his dead pan comedic styling – someone give this guy a leading role already and ideally a super hero role.

Ted on the couch with hookers
Image: Ted on the couch with hookers
 The highlight of Ted for me must be the house party that Ted throws, growing up in the 80s it is a fan boy’s dream party and Mark Wahlberg plays the whole pseudo surreal experience with fan boy enthusiasm rather than anywhere near patronising. Ted’s party has to be the best house party I have ever seen on screen. It is absolutely outstanding and a one of this years best moments in film.

Ted Mark Wahlberg & Mila Kunis
Image: Ted Mark Wahlberg & Mila Kunis
 As I say despite my criticism Ted is not a bad film and it is fun with some hilarious moments but it lacks the spark needed to lift it to greatness or even goodness unless you are a Seth MacFarlane or stoned of course.

TED Poster Mark Wahlberg Seth MacFarlane
Image: TED Poster Mark Wahlberg Seth MacFarlane

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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.

Ted will be in cinemas: 1 August, 2012 
 Director: Seth MacFarlane
Writers: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Seth MacFarlane

Follow me over here Twitter @TheEstShot or Facebook > and please interact. Comments and thoughts always welcome below.