Family Guy meets Toy Story in Seth MacFarlane’s debut feature film Ted. Creator of numerous successful American animated shows, MacFarlane’s flare for satirical comedy is transposed to the live-action arena here… alongside a walking talking ex-celebrity teddy bear who’s got a taste for weed, scantily clad girls and crude jokes.
The bear in question, the titular Ted, was brought to life by a young boy’s wish back in the 1980’s. Skip ahead 27 years and that boy is now Mark Wahlberg and Ted’s turned into a furry shorter version of Seth MacFarlane. Thanks to Ted’s steady encouragement, John still revels in childish behaviour – much to the malign of girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis). Growing increasingly irritated, the couple’s relationship is jeopardised when a childhood hero arrives on the scene.
The hero? Flash Gordon, of course. Riffing on Family Guy’s use of obscure pop references, some of Ted‘s funniest scenes feature Sam J. Jones – Flash himself. The rest of the comedy originates from Ted, John’s boozing, womanising best friend. His rude remarks wobble deliciously between the poles of political correctness whilst his facial expressions are brought vividly to life by some good CGI. We’ll warn you now though – you may take a closer look at parsnips before purchasing them in the future.
Family Guy and American Dad favourites appear throughout this adult fairytale including the afore-mentioned Mila Kunis, Patrick Warburton (the voice of Family Guy’s Joe) and the self-deprecating Patrick Stewart, who lends his voice to narrating duties. The entire cast are are on top form, including the cameos.
Peril awaits John and Ted’s friendship at every corner, and when Lori isn’t suffering at their long-standing in-jokes Ted is being threatened with the very real threat of being kidnapped at the hands of the on-form Giovanni Ribisi. The outcome is a surprisingly emotional story of friendship that is underlaid with plenty of humour. The film sometimes travels into the world of obscurity, but it’s all the better for it; particular highlights include a duck fight, a bear fight, travelling through space as well as some teddy love making. Yes, you read that right.
No celebrity is safe from the sharp wit of the crew behind Ted – the film even manages to reference Peter Griffin at one point, earning brownie points from fans. The soundtrack is bright and jazzy and juxtaposes the potty-mouthed behaviour of Ted himself. Everyone has their favourite bear from their childhood – Ted offers an opportunity to see what would have happened if that bear could talk.
One of the most quotable films of the year (expect to hear the thunder song just about everywhere), Ted is simply tedriffic (oh, we went there). It may not please the easily-offended but for everyone else it’s definitely one to look out for.
Best Song: Flash – Queen – we predict sales of Flash Gordon may increase tenfold after the release of Ted.