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Monday, December 17, 2012


Though it's 112-minute run time breezes by, Ted eventually reveals itself as an artless take on the romantic comedy bolstered only by the flashy high-concept premise of it's title character, a brash, foul-mouthed, talking Teddy Bear. You get the sense that writer-director Seth MacFarlane and the rest of the creative people involved put in very little effort past the initial idea. Literally everything outside of the talking teddy bear is a repeat of the same lazy cliches and character tropes you find in every romantic comedy.

Mark Wahlberg's John Bennett is an overgrown man-child with a do-nothing job at a car rental agency. He likes getting high and watching DVDs with his buddies, just like a typical Type B male lead, except in this case his only buddy is his childhood teddy bear, turned real by the magic of his Christmas wish.

Somehow, John has found himself in a four-year relationship with Lori, a public relations agent played by Mila Kunis. Because this is a movie decidedly written by and for the male audience, Lori is a ball-buster who is largely framed as an antagonist for wanting John to behave more responsibly and make more of an effort. She also wants Ted to move out.

The rest of the film follows John as he constantly chooses fun and adventure, much of it drug-induced and dangerous, with Ted over spending time with his long-suffering, much younger, way more successful, and more attractive girlfriend. A well-paced and constructed action sequence leading to the movie's climax brushes past the part of the movie where Lori forgives John and accepts him for who he is for no discernible reason.

It should not be surprising that the creator of Family Guy relies on pop-cultural references and politically-incorrect statements for humor, but for some reason it was still disappointing to see it in feature-length. All of the jokes in Ted are disposable, and less than 24 hours later I'm having a tough time remembering any of them in detail.

Ted is the kind of movie that thinks it's hilarious just to bring up the 1980 movie Flash Gordon, and that bringing its star Sam J. Jones in for a cameo just ratchets up the laughs exponentially. It's cheap, one-note, and hacky comedy. Of course it made a killing at the box office and for the next decade or so people will keep telling you it's one of their favorite movies.

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