Review: ‘Ted’ was bearable, if you are into that sort of thing
The sad fact is that a lot of people are in fact fans, and yes, I believe that that is a sad fact. To be clear, I am not down on gross-out humor, and can enjoy it as well as anyone else. Heck, I have done standup comedy, and such gags were a standard part of my sets. Gross-out humor is not my problem with this movie.
The problem is it is pretty much exactly what I expected. It is probably exactly what you expected, too. So, if you expect to like this movie, go on and get your ticket. If not, you can pretend to be a snob with me and the other cool kids, okay?
The movie opens with a voice over by Patrick Stewart (yes, really) explaining to us that, though we do not believe in magic much anymore, it still does sometimes happen. This is, admittedly, not what I expected, and if the rest of the movie had been like it, I would probably be writing a very different review.
In this case, a lonely boy (who will grow up to be played by Mark Wahlberg) gets a talking teddy bear for Christmas. At first, it can only say “I love you,” but eventually it gets a larger vocabulary thanks to a Christmas wish. At this point, Ted is cute; he has a little kid voice, and he is actually quite adorable. The boy’s parent’s horrified reaction to this completely innocuous being is quite funny, as is Capt. Picard’s deadpan explanation of why nobody seems to care about a giant talking teddy bear during the course of the movie. I won’t spoil it, but it is funny because it is true.
Unfortunately, the voice over disappears until the end of the movie, and the magical bear grows up to become Seth MacFarlane discovering that he is no longer on TV, so he can say the f-word now. His grown up BFF is now dating; his girlfriend (Mila Kunis) wonders if a guy who still hangs out with his teddy bear can grow up. This is the main source of conflict, though a subplot about a creepy guy who still does care about a living teddy bear provides the climax.
If you want to see and hear a teddy bear curse, do shots, curse some more, smoke pot, curse again and finally have teddy bear sex, well, here’s your movie. (That last one is mostly offscreen. Don’t be too disappointed.) Also, there will be references to the 80s, since this is a Seth MacFarlane creation.
The problem I had is that the jokes are too easy and all too predictable. For instance, Ted smokes pot, as I have already mentioned. That is the joke. It is not the set up to a punch line. It is not the punch line. It is the entire joke. Ted is doing something naughty. Oh boy.
Another example is a scene where Wahlberg badly sings the song from Octopussy (and I am usually a sucker for Bond stuff) and Ted comments it is still better than Katy Perry. So, what? She’s a pop diva; of course she sucks. Just pointing that out is not funny.
To be a joke, you have to do something with it. For instance, Ted could have noted that in Katy Perry’s case, unlike Marky-Mark’s, you are not supposed to listen to the music; you are supposed to watch the video and masturbate to it. See, it’s dirty and has a dated pop culture reference!
You know what, I think I will just go out on that note. Good night folks, I’ll be here all week.