In 1985, a young boy’s wish that his teddy bear would come to life is made a reality. It’s the stuff dreams are made of, unless of course that teddy bear is voiced by Seth MacFarlane.
Fast forward to 2012 and little John (Mark Wahlberg) is not so little, and the now adult Ted is not the innocent bear he once was. Ted’s fame as the real life teddy bear has now faded, leading into a Lindsay Lohan-esque decline, and now he spends his days getting stoned with the un-ambitious John, his thunder buddy for life.
John’s girlfriend, high-flying Lori (Mila Kunis), can no longer deal with John and Ted’s bromance which revolves around smoking pot and watching Flash Gordon. The slightly subjugated Kunis provides the movie’s plot, posing an ultimatum to John in a classic bromance versus romance: lose Ted or lose her.
Offensive, crude and most importantly hilarious, MacFarlane’s directorial debut easily resembles the Family Guy humour we have come to know him for. Wahlberg does well in his role, showing an effortless relationship with MacFarlane, the voice of the famous Peter Griffin, to deliver fast lines which generally provide a very modern and funny script. Much like the critically acclaimed Family Guy, the film has the odd strained moment, but they are sparse and compensated for by some genuinely side-splitting ones.
Cameo roles from familiar Family Guy voices and Hollywood stars (both past and present) make this comedy wholly unbelievable and farcical, and completely politically incorrect. Yet this somehow seems to blend into an excellent comedy. MacFarlane does what he did with Family Guy, taking the child-friendly appearance of the film and hurlings farts, vomit and foul-mouthed obscenity all over it.
One particular scene, in which Sam Jones (the real Flash Gordon) invites John and Ted to do cocaine with their lifelong hero, masterfully highlights their immature, vulnerable personas as they look on nervously. Yet as is the MacFarlane way, they shun their innocent consciences and emerge with powdered noses, producing fantastic chaos.
If it is a subtle, sensitive comedy you are after, Ted is not for you. The film is not a critique of the lazy, un-ambitious modern man, nor does it try to be. Ted is a nostalgic look at two friends still living the lives of the young and famous, based on an underlying friendship that is weirdly heartwarming – with a load of drugs, hookers and a crazy fat kid, in true MacFarlane style.