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Jun 29, 2012
08:17 AMTalk about Arts
Movie Review: Ted
Films opening this weekend in Buffalo:
Lola Versus - Eastern Hills Dipson
Madea's Witness Protection - Market Arcade Dipson; Elmwood, Transit, Galleria, Hollywood Regals
Magic Mike - McKinley Mall, Market Arcade Dipsons; Elmwood, Transit, Galleria, Hollywood Regals - REVIEW
People Like Us - Elmwood, Transit, Galleria, Hollywood Regals
Ted - Maple Ridge; Market Arcade Dipson; Elmwood, Transit, Galleria, Hollywood Regals
If you looked at the trailers for Seth MacFarlane's Ted and thought it would be a full-length, live action riff on his popular animated television show "Family Guy", you wouldn't be wrong. However, if you also thought such a result would end up overlong, obnoxious, and too weak to sustain its one-note joke, get ready to be pleasantly surprised. I won't say this crude, R-rated fantasy about a teddy bear come to life will be for everyone, but fans of MacFarlane and "Guy" team members Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild should love it.
MacFarlane introduces us to young John Bennett on the day that will indelibly change his life. A lonely child the neighborhood punching bag doesn't even want to consort with, an unwrapped plush bear under his Christmas tree becomes his first friend. With a high-pitched "I love you" emanating from its belly when squeezed, it's no surprise the impressionable boy has a wish to bring his stuffed animal to life. And like these fantastical tales of imaginary friends go, the morning manifests its miracle with a heartfelt embrace. The only difference here is that Ted is very much real.
Unlike Brian the dog in "Family Guy," MacFarlane can't brush off a talking bear by flippantly remarking he's a cartoon. So, rather than ignore the elephant in the room, he opens the floodgates by exposing the walking, talking toy to the entire world. Forever by John's (Mark Wahlberg) side, Ted (MacFarlane) becomes the kind of disposable overnight sensation we all love to watch implode.
John and girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) are trying to reconcile a four-year relationship riddled with immaturity on his behalf, so their many starts, stops, and second chances do put a strain on our patience. And while easy comedy results through John's oblivious manager (Matt Walsh), aloof coworker (Patrick Warburton), and Lori's chauvinistic boss's relentless attempts to woo her (Joel McHale), these gags can't compare with the very "Guy"-esque interludes of Saturday Night Fever escapades that will have you on the floor laughing.
At the end of the day, we don't need the lovebirds to stay together. We came for the John and Ted show and the screenwriters thankfully understand. The rest of the movie is a series of hilarious events helped by drug use or simply byproducts of the characters' bottomless wealth of stupidity. Ted quickly crosses the line from cute, cuddly bear to vulgar, sexist, racist with an early bong hit and almost makes you forget he's a toy through a never-ending barrage of sarcastically biting one-liners college kids will be repeating for months to come.
But this is the genius of MacFarlane's accomplishment. We buy Ted's existence and allow the film to continue as though nothing is amiss. Marky Mark has had to grow on me over the years as far as being a well-rounded actor goes, but I never denied his talent at self-deprecating humor. His willingness to cower in fear when faced with inclement weather is a hoot, and the chemistry he shares with MacFarlane is solid. Even the computer effects on Ted are seamless.
MacFarlane has proven his shtick works on the big screen, now, I'd love to see his next script strip away the "Family Guy" crutches even more so his sensibilities are laid bare to take us where we've never comedically been before. I think he has it in him, and I look forward to finding out if I'm right.
Ted 7/10 | ★ ★ ★
 "Family Guy" creator SETH MACFARLANE brings his boundary-pushing brand of humor to the big screen for the first time as writer, director and voice star of "Ted". In the live action/CG-animated comedy, he tells the story of a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish...and has refused to leave his side ever since. Photo Credit: Tippett Studio/Universal Pictures © 2012 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
 Mila Kunis stars as Lori in Universal Pictures' Ted.