Saturday, June 20, 2015

Netflix Mail Day Movie Review: "Ted" (2012)

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Director: Seth MacFarlane
Year: 2012
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

A young boy named John with no friends makes a wish that his new teddy bear would come to life. His wish was magically granted and they become best friends for life. Now, John (Mark Wahlberg) is 35 years old, but he and his stuffed bear Ted (Seth MacFarlane) are still best friends. When Ted starts to cause problems between John and his girlfriend of four years, Lori (Mila Kunis), John may be forced to choose between his girl and his best friend/teddy bear. 

There are a lot of people in the world who love "Ted," even some critics. We are not two of those people. We decided to give it another chance and we still feel the same way about it even a few years later. It's not like we totally hate "Ted," and it certainly has its (rare) good enough moments. The concept itself is pretty good, especially considering it's not based on anything like a comic book, or a book book, or a movie book (???). A talking teddy bear that grows up to be a foul-mouthed, misogynistic asshole and not a cute, cuddly, adorable toy? Now can you see why men everywhere love this movie!! We contend this film is able to get away with saying the things Ted says and doing the horrible things Ted does because they would seem so much more offensive coming out of the mouth of a grown man, so why not make a bear do it? Seth MacFarlane uses this to his full advantage, pushing the envelope as far as he possibly can when it comes to crude and nasty humor, but this type of comedy loses its luster pretty quickly, even when coming from a stuffed bear. This movie tries again and again to get the audience invested in its "plight," which isn't really a plight at all because when you strip away that damn bear, it's just your basic story with little to no substance and an overabundance of dick jokes. After a (very short) while, it stops being funny and starts to get a little grating.

Mark Wahlberg plays Ted's best friend John, who is a full-on Boston strong broseph with a little bit of a sensitive side. He and Ted hang out all the time, smoke weed, and watch TV. It's supposed to be cute that a 35 year old hangs out with his teddy bear, but even this loses its charm halfway through its run time. The core of the film is about John's relationship with his long time girlfriend Lori, played by Mila Kunis. She starts to see Ted as an anchor holding John back from his full potential, and John is forced to pick between his best friend and his girlfriend. Like we said, basic. The whole relationship aspect of the film is super formulaic: he loves her, but he can't stop making mistakes and screwing up, but he's likable because he tries his best, and then he screws up so big, it almost ruins the relationship until he is forced to do the grand romantic gesture thing to win her back. WE'RE ALREADY YAWNING. The rest of the film's comedy, much like MacFarlane's juggernaut "Family Guy," is a slew of rather untimely pop culture references. It's like that bit on Conan O'Brien where Andy Richter says, "member this? 'Member that? 'Member this?," all while showing silly photos of what was prevalent in pop culture during the time. So, this movie decides, "you know what? We haven't heard anything about Flash Gordon lately, let's change that!," and proceeds to take a 57-year old Sam Jones and throws him in his Flash Gordon outfit, all while playing Queen's theme to "Flash Gordon" as if it's supposed to be hilarious more than once. This bit gets dragged out like all the other bits in the movie as Sam Jones continues to do outrageous things that are only funny because it's Flash Gordon doing them, much like what Ted does is only funny because it's coming from a stuffed teddy bear. We have come full circle. Just like in "Family Guy," MacFarlane takes this similar, formulaic, tired concept, and just like before, as he does here in "Ted," runs it into the ground as quickly as possible. The jokes stick around way past their expiration date, and we wonder if he only makes movies to employ his friends and "Family Guy" coworkers since they are obviously not good enough to do much of anything else (aside from Mark Wahlberg, who we have all collectively forgiven about the thing with the Vietnamese man, but whatevs). The bottom line is, if you like MacFarlane's signature style of cutting away to memories from the past then cutting to another unnecessary cultural reference and a bazillion and one poop and fart jokes, "Ted" is the film for you. Us? We're not convinced, and it certainly doesn't need a sequel, but because Hollywood, "Ted 2" will be premiering next week. 

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 67%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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