Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlance's bad-ass bruin make funny
By Richard Luck, 24 July 2012
We all own a possession that inextricably links us to childhood. In the Orson Welles classic Citizen Kane, media magnate Charles Foster Kane is tied to his idyllic upbringing by Rosebud, his beloved sledge. In Ted, Mark Wahlberg's John Bennett possesses an even more direct connection to days gone by courtesy of the titular bear. While Kane's sleigh was but a long cherished plaything, Ted is an all-singin', all-dancin', all-swearin' entity whose been complicating John's life since before he started nursery school.
As Citizen Kane was written, directed and produced by Welles, so Ted is written, directed and produced by Seth MacFarlane. Not only that but, as the awesome Orson played the title character in his picture, so the brains behind Family Guy and American Dad! voices the eponymous Ted. There, however, the similarities end - since MacFarlane's debut feature doesn't alter the very language of cinema a la Welles' first outing. It does, on the other hand, do some interesting things with the English language, such as placing some hugely imaginative swear words in the mouth of an adorable bruin.
This bear doesn't just swear, though - he fights, he drinks, he sleeps around. He also does everything in his power to frustrate John's relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis), a long-time girlfriend who's keen on getting engaged. Oh, and did we mention that Ted sings? Well, he does - charming, nursery rhyme-esque numbers like, "When you hear the sound of thunder/Don't you get too scared./Just grab your thunder buddy /And say these magic words:/'Fuck you, thunder!/You can suck my dick!/You can't get me thunder/'Cause you're just God's farts!'"
Ted also features Mark Wahlberg's finest performance in... well, quite a long time. Try as Hollywood might to turn him into an action hero, it's hard to deny the erstwhile Marky Mark is at his best when he's keeping things comedic. Even in relatively serious entertainments such as Boogie Nights and the excellent Three Kings, Wahlberg proves to be winning because he lets his guard down and lightens up. Good as his clowning has been in the past, the Contrband star caps his previous efforts here. Then again, it's hard not to get laughs when you're sharing the screen with a teddy bear that swears like a stevedore and writes letters to Hasbro about his shortcomings in the trouser department.
Since it's a Seth MacFarlane joint, it's no great shock that Ted features both members of his stock company (Patrick Warburton, Alex Borstein, Patrick Stewart) and his creative team (co-writers Wellesley Wild and Alec Sulkin have received Emmy nominations for their work on Family Guy). As it's so evidently a product of the MacFarlane imagination, so Ted's unlikely to win over those people - like South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone - who find his work unsophisticated and puerile. Being one of the youngest billionaires in the film industry, our man doesn't need to fret about converting newcomers to his cause. The simple fact of the matter is, if you've loved his earlier work, you'll love Ted. And if you haven't, there's lots of other films to see. Now, how does Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 grab ya?
Released: 1 August
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