Seth Macfarlene's got his fingers in a lot of pies. From 'Family Guy' to 'American Dad', 'Cleveland Show' and an upcoming 'Flintstones' reboot, the guy clearly knows how to make products that everyone enjoys.
Personally I'm not a massive fan of his stuff. Family Guy is good here and there, especially in the earlier series, but for the most part it just seems like a cutaway ridden, pop culture referencing husk that dickheads can quote and talk about how “genius” the whole thing is. This was weirdly uttered by the dumbass who sat behind me in the theatre a noticeable amount of times so I could tell he was a long time fan. The rest of his stuff I won't even give as good of a review as Family Guy, which even he is aware has gotten old so I'll leave you to imagine what I think of the bulk of Macfarlene's work.
Also in a prediction of how I'll find his rebooted The Flinstones. That show is too unsalvageable of an idea to ever make a good show with.
But I do like Macfarlene as a comedian by himself. He seems to be very intelligent and incredibly funny, so it's always surprised me why I don't like his stuff. So going into his new film 'Ted', I was really interested to see how I'd like it.
Got in there 15 minutes late as I misjudged that the Dark Knight Rises would still producing massive queues of entry. At first I though the queues were for Ted, but after entering the cinema and seeing that it was almost barren I now know otherwise. I have since watched the opening 15 minutes on the internet at an undisclosed location and am factoring in its quality into the whole package, even though its quality had been dropped slightly having been now viewed via a camera phone, with the cameraman coughing constantly and dropping the frame off centre like he was falling asleep. If you're going to get arrested and charged thousands for illegal filming, then you better make it a damn good shot and not piss away an opportunity like that guy.
So how is the film? Well it's a pretty straight up comedy, so I'm mostly going to just talk about its funniness, originality and the characters. Macfarlene doesn't get the leeway with how he handles the visuals that Nolan does.
Anyway so the film starts off as a straight up story about a child who has no friends and upon Christmas day he receives a teddy bear who he names Ted and becomes best friends with. One night on a particularly magic night e.g. there's a shooting star or something, the boy wishes for Ted to be real. Then kicks off our film. Also this bit is presented as very cliché, but because of a narration by Patrick Stewart and his parents hilarious reaction of fear to Ted being alive, it makes it very funny and show early on that's it's going to be over the top and very lightly a spoof of fluffy family films.
The film continues in mostly the same vein from here. The two characters basically doss around for the first quarter of the film just getting high, making numerous pop culture references and too be honest a lot of the joke are based around the fact that it's a bear being an adult.
The problems however start to creep in as soon as Mila Kunis appears. She is a perfectly good actor and she is funny when she's given material, but for the most part she is left here to be just be the frustrated girlfriend who wants Ted to move out. This would be fine, but she becomes so bitchy and controlling, yet the film continues to be on her side, that after a while it just seems like she's there to break up the comedy hi-jinks that could be happening.
There are two plots in this film. One is about Mila Kunis' character wanting Ted to move out and her and Mark Whalberg's (you'll notice how unimportant the character’s name are because I forgot them) relationship can move on. The second plot is about a ridiculous obsessive Ted fan and his warped son who have become incessant about the idea of owning Ted. One of these plots is very funny, with very good characters, the other is boring and tedious as hell. I'll let you guess which one that is.
All I can really say about this film then is that it is funny and there were more than enough times when I laughed out loud, which is a rarity. There is however one big problem with the film and that is that it has very sappy, lovey-dovey, bad drama moments. Drama in a comedy is never necessarily a bad thing, but it is when it's badly written drama. The dialogue in the comedy bits is free flowing and naturalistic, but as soon as it becomes serious, it hits a wall in quality. The last 20 or so minutes is one of these occasions where the film goes for a big action orientated ending where all characters get along out of the blue and although it is interlaced with pretty good jokes, for the most part it is just one big clichéd scene after another, with tear jerking moments that make you want to hit the writers and ask why they ever thought this was going to be good.
Obviously, not all the jokes work. There are a lot of pop culture reference based jokes, which aren't great but it's not because they're too subtle, but because the characters state what it is after they said it. It's like the writers are showing off at how many mainstream shows and films they can reference within a 90 minute period. But then again there some really great pop culture jokes, so it's give and take.
But aside form some misses, this film is very funny. It is just out of place drama and sugary sentimentality, in a film which sets itself up to mock and spoof both of these ruin noticeable chunks of the film.
As long as you can stomach the bullshit however, I do recommend this film as it is very rarely that good comedies come along and this is certainly a good comedy. It's just a shame that it could have been alot funnier had it had a clearer direction, e.g more jokes, less regurgitated relationship sub-plot. But I do wait for a day when Seth Macfarlene will finally make me love something he does. For now, that hasn't happened.