Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy and several other nearly identical shows) hasn’t quite made a seamless jump into films with Ted, his feature directorial debut.
While the film is certainly funny (in a crude, crass, and unrelenting sort of way), it cannot escape feelings of small-screen plotting and an overreliance on formula. What saves Ted from going over the edge of forgettable mediocrity, however, is its surprising wealth of heart in a coming-of-middle-age story that thankfully doesn’t come to the same old conclusion.
The setup? Well, once there was a boy who wished for his teddy bear to come to life. And it actually happened. Here’s where most weird direct-to-DVD kids movies start, but Ted’s main story takes place some 25 years later.
Now a couple of washed up former child stars, Ted the bear (voiced serviceably by Seth MacFarlane) and his best buddy John (Mark Wahlberg) navigate the strange and mixed-up world of arrested development. John wants to take things further with girlfriend Lori (MacFarlane staple Mila Kunis), but Ted’s pot-smoking wise-cracking friendship gets in the way. She demands that Ted move out, and he does.
The rest is a series of strangely formulaic trials and tribulations punctuated with funny performances and slick humor writing.
Ted will not live on in history as a movie that changed much. It is above average, but in an underachieving sort of way.
However, on a rainy Sunday, it was a welcome diversion, and, if one can handle some extremely R-rated comedy, it is certainly worth a matinee.
Regal Stadium 14, R, 106 min.