Tuesday 17 July 2012

Review: Ted (2012)

Ted is crass, vulgar, ridiculous, and awesome.

Not sublime, I grant you that. But definitely brimming with sheer awesomeness. The kind of awesome that sets the teeth of snobs on edge.

Seth MacFarlane wears so many hats here (writer, director, producer, actor) that I wasn't honestly expecting much. How could anyone pull off so many different roles successfully simultaneously? Is he superman? C'mon! But pull it off he does, and with flying colours. Sans spandex. This movie is one rudely fun romp, particularly for males of a certain age who are familiar with the material MacFarlane constantly references.

It starts with a lonely young boy's Christmas wish for a best friend. It being the movies, the wish miraculously comes true, bringing to life Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), a stuffed bear. I know, I know. So far, so typical. We've all seen sappy Christmas movies where the wishes of virtuous younglings come true, so long as Anakin isn't around to cut them short. But that's not what the movie is interested in, or about. It has much more fun fish to fry.

Instead, the film takes a sharp twist twenty-five years into the future. The boy, John Bennett, has now grown up into Mark Wahlberg. He's a loveable bong smoking loser who spends lots of time on the couch with his stuffed but ambulatory friend Ted. Ted's matured too, in spirit if not form, and now is a foul mouthed, sex obsessed pothead. Both are deeply immersed in pop culture. Consider your Christmas fantasies set firmly askew.

This delightfully simple premise is executed with aplomb. Expletives and politically incorrect material flies in every direction. 
John's love interest, Lori (Mila Kunis) is charming and shares chemistry with Wahlberg. Ted, however, is constantly getting in the way, and much of the film deals with how the trio manage to set their lives in order. 
Shameless joy resides behind the film, a lightheartedness which I honestly hadn't expected. And while some of the humour hits the mark with a wallop, and some doesn't, it's all just so silly and unselfconscious, you can't help but love it. I left with a big smile on my face.
I'm looking forward to whatever project MacFarlane sets his sick, twisted, brilliant mind to next.

Do yourself a favour though: be sure to watchthe camptastic cheesefest Flash Gordon (1980) and Airplane! (1980) before you see this film, just to jog your memory if you're my age, or so you can get the jokes if you're a younger person. All three share a similiar sense of unbridled lunacy and joy.

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