Tuesday, 8 January 2013



It's hard to know exactly where to begin detailing exactly how thoroughly wrong this modern comedy is. One could start by pointing out the plus points - the animation effects work perfectly well, some of the one-liners are funny, Walter Murphy's pleasant score - but that's pretty much all it's got going for it. The rest is distinctly unlikable, nowhere near funny enough, needlessly vulgar and deliberately obnoxious, and does nothing for its two stars, particularly Mark Wahlberg, who I've never been a huge fan of but had gradually come to tolerate until this sent him right back down the bearability ladder again.

Essentially Ted is another manchild story, in which permanent adolescent John (Wahlberg) wants to settle down into a proper relationship with his long-term girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) but can't break away from hanging out with his irresponsible and carefree best friend Ted (Seth McFarlane). The only difference is that the best friend is his childhood teddy bear that came to life as a result of a Christmas wish when John was eight, and they're still best buddies: getting stoned together, watching Cheers box sets and Flash Gordon DVDs together and generally goofing around. Can John grow up, get his priorities sorted out and keep Lori from the clutches of her sleazy boss? Or will he revert to teenager type and habit and throw his life away partying with Ted?

The movie doesn't work as a comedy simply because it isn't funny enough and Ted isn't a particularly likable character and the tasteless antics he gets up to are not endearing or charming. 9/11 jokes, gratuitous swearing and comedy racism smack more of desperation than of genuine humour. The movie doesn't work as a relationship comedy either because there's no way Lori should be expected to put up with John or Ted, let alone the both of them. We're supposed to be rooting for John but he keeps on disappointing her and choosing Ted's drug-fuelled orgies over her. The end result isn't just that I don't care what happens to him, it's that I feel a rising sense of injustice when she keeps on forgiving him and inviting him back, and I start hating her for being so stupid. Even the secondary plot, in which Ted is kidnapped by an obsessed collector, feels like it's only there to put some excitement and chases in (and an absurd resurrection ending) to liven the thing up.

Humour is subjective, of course, so maybe it's just me. The few bits of Family Guy (only a few bits, because I didn't think it was good enough to stick with) that I've seen I didn't think were particularly funny either. But there should be something. Instead there's annoyance and irritation, and worse, there's boredom. Yes, the bear effects and interaction with the cast are brilliantly done, and there are a couple of big name cameos (one of them being the narrator), but if you honestly don't give a damn about any of the main characters, and indeed hope that one of them ends up on a bonfire, all the good work goes for very little. Depressing.


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