My husband and I finally saw Ted. As fans of Family Guy, we were excited to see what Seth McFarlane would do with his first feature length film. We expected juvenile humour, stupidity, silliness and vulgarity and we were treated to all of that, but we left the theatre feeling like there should have been more. Working with a walking, talking Teddy bear in a feature length movie with an R-rating, McFarlane could have and should have gone all out with this film. Instead, he created a familiar main story, and padded it with an unnecessary and annoying sub-story involving Giovanni Ribisi and Aedin Mincks as a creepy father and son pair who are obsessed with the teddy bear. McFarlane created some genuinely funny moments, but there were too few and far between, and he closed the film with an out of place, clichéd and emotional ending that didn’t suit the film.
The film strives for obnoxious, crude and offensive hilarity and it manages to deliver some, but it’s a wasted effort for the most part due to the meager, unoriginal and often boring plot. Ted, the CGI-rendered teddy bear is an impressive visual creation and the bear works well alongside Mark Wahlberg’s John Bennett, an underachieving car rental office employee who wished his beloved teddy to life as a kid. Mila Kunis brings her effective feistiness and down-to-earth likeability to this comedic role, and though I like her here, she’s not given much to work with. Her role is that of Lori, the clichéd girlfriend who, though frustrated by her boyfriend’s immaturity and lack of ambition, puts up with him and his devotion to his teddy bear until she slaps down that predictable ultimatum: it’s either her or Ted.
I didn’t go in to Ted thinking that I was about to see a romantic comedy, but that’s pretty much what it is (with a sprinkle of bromance comedy added in for good measure). The clichéd relationship gets in the way of the comedic fun because rather than be an outrageous and hilarious buddy comedy, the film feels more like a traditional romantic comedy just with a teddy bear coming between the couple rather than another person. Several of the funnier sequences wind up being used simply to advance the relationship between John and Lori. Disappointingly, Ted is just like countless other romantic comedies except that it features a talking teddy bear, yet the teddy bear does little to break the monotony and unoriginality of the story.
I was hoping for laughs from beginning to end, but the most I got were a few giggles in the middle. Sadly, the film was far less funny than I expected, but with potential galore and that’s the most disappointing part. In my opinion, McFarlane went in the wrong direction. Ted should have been about John and his teddy bear and not about a teddy bear interfering in a relationship. I was expecting random and unexpected humour because a teddy bear can get away with saying and doing things that we might not accept from a human character, but McFarlane didn’t go that “anything goes” route. Rather, he gave us something that we’ve seen so many times before and I wanted so much more.