It's always extremely refreshing when a movie knows exactly what it is. The marketing doesn't lie, the star is on the same page as the director and generally speaking, the film ticks over, regardless of genre. Ted is a crude, foulmouthed comedy from the creator of a crude, foulmouthed series, that stars Mark Wahlberg and a teddy bear. It also happens to be frequently hilarious, and at times borderline sweet. This is currently doing Hangover-style business at the North American box-office and it's very easy to see why.
Wahlberg is directionless but well-meaning 35-year-old John, who made a wish when he was a child that his teddy bear, Ted, would come alive and be his best pal forever. Lo and behold his wish comes true, and a few decades later both are still firm pals. Somewhere in there, John meets the gorgeous Lori (Kunis), and she moves in with him and Ted. Constantly pushing him to grow up, it soon becomes apparent that John will have trouble taking life seriously unless Ted moves out (the final straw comes when a hooker takes a crap on their apartment floor.) Will their friendship last? Will Lori get pissed off and leave John for her sleazy boss (a very funny McHale)?
Naturally, it's important that you know what kind of film to expect when sitting down to view Ted. Fans of Family Guy and American Dad certainly won't be disappointed, as it pushes the same irreverent humour as both of those popular animated serials - albeit on a larger, more expletive ridden scale. Seth McFarlane has never directed a movie before and his story and character credentials are hardly stellar, given the interchangeable plot of his shows. But if he knows how to do one thing, it's 'funny'. Family Guy in particular feels like it was written by comedians, and he carries that sensibility over to his first feature film. Ted is a very simple movie with the plot almost an afterthought - but you get the impression that McFarlane realises this.
Audiences have flocked to see this comedy on the promise of a cursing, womanizing, pot-smoking bear, and it delivers in spades. Ted is a fantastic character, superbly embodied by the dulcet tones of its director. He's a battering-ram of zingers who renders the plot pretty much inconsequential, while Wahlberg provides the perfect foil to him. The Boston native has pushed the intense action roles over the past few years, but somewhat surprisingly has found his true home in comedy. He balances John's utter density with just enough charm for you to get why Lori would go out with him, while Ted is actually given a (somewhat) believable backstory.
A consistently funny, sometimes sweet and pretty much always offensive comedy and a cracking feature debut from McFarlane. 'F**k you thunder', indeed.