A-  ★ ★ ★½

John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted (Seth MacFarlane) sing the Thunder Buddies Song

Directed by Seth MacFarlane

Story by Seth MacFarlane

Screenplay by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild

Mark Wahlberg: John Bennett

Mila Kunis: Lori Collins

Seth MacFarlane: Ted (voice)

Joel Machale: Rex

Giovanni Ribisi: Donny

Patrick Stewart: Narrator (voice)

Jessica Barth: Tami-Lynn

Patrick Warburton: Guy

Aedin Mincks: Robert

Bretton Manley: Young John Bennett

Zane Cowans: Young Ted (voice); Generic Teddy Bear (voice)

Sam J. Jones: Himself/Flash Gordon

Nora Jones: Herself

Ted is a very funny movie. Probably the funniest movie of the year. This is due in large part to the fantastic acting of the cast and the brilliant writing of the film.

Ted begins in the 1980’s with a young boy named John Bennett (Bretton Manley) who seemingly has no friends, whose story is told by none other than the booming voice of Patrick Stewart (a regular voice on MacFarlane’s television show, American Dad). That is, until his parents (Ralph Garman (a very common guest actor on Family Guy) and Alex Borstein (the voice of Lois (the main female character) on Family Guy)) buy him a teddy bear for Christmas for whom he named Teddy. Then one night, John wishes upon a star that Teddy and him could be best friends for real. Sure enough, the next day, Teddy can walk and talk and has real, human emotions. That is where this story takes its turn from the norm. As it probably would in real life, the fact that Teddy can talk becomes international news, with one reporter just screaming, “Look what Jesus did! Look what Jesus did!” Teddy became an overnight sensation, even appearing on Johnny Carson a la the same technology that allowed Forrest Gump to be inserted into archival footage. However, like everyone who gets their 15 minutes of fame, Ted soon becomes a C-list celebrity and then becomes a nobody.

Flash-forward to the present where we see that young John has now evolved into Mark Walhberg and Ted’s hilariously high voice has now become something similar to MacFarlane’s own bass-baritone. The film is set in Boston and they certainly don’t hide it. However, the find a way to avoid hearing Mila Kunis try to fake a Boston accent, by stating she was born in Massachussites. Kunis’s character, Lori Collins, is dating John and has been for four years. From there we begin what would already be enough of a story in which Teddy, who now goes by Ted, is weighing down John’s carreer and relationship with Lori, who asks John to kick him out. In many ways, this is a stoner comedy, but there’s a bit more to it. This shows both in the increadibly raunchy yet very funny writing and in the interesting characters of John and Ted. While Lori is a relatively one-dimensional character on paper, its not because MacFarlene doesn’t know how to write for characters; rather, the quirkiness of Wahlberg and MacFarlane already fills the film with complexity. Ted because he doesn’t know how to live on his own and John because he is a man-child who is experiencing real love, and real friendship. Sure, Lori’s character doesn’t develop all that much, but there is a lot of development for both John and Ted. At the same time as all that is going on, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) and his son, Robert (Aedin Mincks) try to buy, and then, kidnap Ted from our protagonist. It is this second story line that elevated the story as it feels like E.T.:The Extra-Terrestrial (1985), a trait MacFarlane makes no attempts to hide.

So…? What’s good other than the writing (which I’ve already talked about above)? The acting. MacFarlene (as a director) was able to elicit great performances from Wahlberg, Kunis, Ribisi, and the rest of his phenomenal cast, especially Sam J. Jones. The musical score, while not memorable, does indeed help the story a lot so kudos to Family Guy composer, Walter Murphy. With regards to the cinematography, the film is done rather minimally, so it might have benefitted from some improved cinematography amongst the non-action sequences, but nonetheless, it helped to give the film a good scene of pacing. The editing was not consistently good. At some points, the editing was the best thing in the film, but whenever Jeff Freeman (editor) was given the task of switching between over-the-shoulder shots, he ended up creating a nauseating and distracting scene. The art direction was solid overall, as was the sound editing & mixing. The visual effects were also a stand out, be it the seamless insertions of Ted into real footage or simply…Ted!

Overall this film, which absolutely deserves its R-rating, is a fantastic film that can be enjoyed by most anyone, including…yes: Girls! This is not solely a guy movie like The Hangover: Part II (2011) was. Macfarlane’s live action debut really was an excellent way to bust onto the Hollywood scene.

Oscar Hopes:

Really Good Shot:

Best Sound Editing

Best Sound Mixing


Dark Horse:

Best Original Screenplay: Seth MacFarlene (Story/Screenplay) & Alec Sulkin (Screenplay) & Wellesley Wild (Screenplay)

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Mark Wahlberg

Best Visual Effects: Adam Bellao, Matt Corrigan, Kenneth Salter, Christopher Walsh

Long Shots:

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Giovanni Ribisi

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Seth MacFarlene (voice)

Best Director: Seth MacFarlene

Longer Shots:

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Mila Kunis

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Joel McHale

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Sam J. Jones (though he deserves it)

Best Original Score: Walter Murphy

Best Cinematography: Michael Barrett


Extreme Long Shots:

Best Picture: Jason Clark, John Jacobs, Seth MacFarlane, Scott Stuber, Wellesley Wild

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Patrick Warburton

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Jessica Barth

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Nora Jones

Best Art Direction: Stephen J. Lineweaver (Production Designer); E. David Cosier (Art Director); Kyra Friedman (Set Decorator)

Best Film Editing: Jeff Freem

2 Responses to Ted

  1. Pingback: Ted « cinemashadow

  2. Pingback: Jennifer Lawrence named 2012′s World’s most desirable woman. « cinemashadow

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