When he was a little boy, Jon Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) had as his only friend a stuffed bear named Ted.
Although Ted could speak, it was only when squeezed that he might offer, “I love you,” out a tinny speaker. Little Jon Bennett wished that Ted could really talk and, as is prone to happen in Hollywood, his wish came true. Jon and Ted become best friends (and thunder buddies) forever, as well as minor celebrities, Ted is, after all, a sentient Teddy Bear, voiced by Seth MacFarlane.
Ted and Jon grow up together and the story resumes with them as roommates when Jon is 35, going nowhere fast. Jon’s girlfriend, (Mila Kunis) wants him to lose the bear, thinking Ted is holding him back. Ted wants Jon to be happy so he’s sympathetic to his desires, willing to try life on his own. Yet Jon thinks of Ted more like a brother than a teddy bear, and losing him is like breaking up his family.
Can Jon keep Ted in his life while living up to his girlfriends’ expectations? Will Ted keep getting promoted at work, surpassing Jon’s income? Most importantly, is the film funny? We say, it’s better than Family Guy but for the same audience.
TAYLOR: This film is about growing up. Sooner or later, you gotta put down the bong, get a haircut and a real job. I mean, I guess you don’t have to, but most of us do. The fact is, Ted could be about any degenerate relative, friend or roommate. It’s only because he’s a teddy bear that we’re excited to see these same generation X shenanigans.
HOWE: I’m not a fan of the Family Guy, so my expectations for Ted weren’t that high. It’s not going to win any awards for comedy of the year, but having said that it does have its funny moments.
TAYLOR: I stopped watching Family Guy a few years ago, when I deemed it pointlessly crude, violent and no longer funny.
Seth MacFarlane has a bad case of nostalgia for his own pop-culture memories, which reminds me of a time when jokes weren’t just references that made me ask, “where’s the beef?” Just because your observations are correct, doesn’t make them humorous.
HOWE: The way they brought Ted to life was good; no I don’t mean with the magic wish, I mean that he looked realistic. Well, as realistic as a talking teddy bear can get I guess.
Gone are the days of string to make a puppet move and a hand shoved up his bottom to make him talk.
TAYLOR: Gone too are the days of being impressed by effective CGI, if it’s not cutting the mustard, it’s just bad. Ted gets a passing grade from me on all fronts, just barely. It’s formulaic juvenile tripe from the King of such things. If that’s your thing, you’ll like it.
Taylor gives Ted 2.5 fuzzy yawns out of 5. Howe gives it 2.5 car rentals out of 5.
Ted is currently playing at the Pen Mar Cinema Centre in Penticton.
Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are movie reviewers that live in the South Okanagan.