Ted opens with 8-year-old John Bennett wishing his teddy bear could come to life and actually talk, hoping for the friend he can’t seem to make. When his wish comes true, he makes a buddy for life. After a quick montage during the opening credits, we now follow a mid-30’s John (Mark Walberg) in a coming of age story where a grown up boy learns if it’s better to let go of his teddy bear.
When Ted (voiced by director Seth MacFarlane) came to life, he became a media sensation with visits to the Tonight Show and appearances on magazine covers. Now that his appeal has worn off, like an aging child actor, he is living off of his best friend, John, who has been in a relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis) for four years. She has a decent office job and has settled in a responsible adult life. She wants her boyfriend to grow up a bit, seek better employment than the rental car company he works for, and stop spending all his free time getting high with his teddy bear.
The plot is your basic coming of age story, which you’ve seen before, with the talking bear an obvious metaphor for what an adult clings to from his childhood. But this isn’t the kind of movie that you go to for some deeper meaning to life. This is a movie you watch for the laughs and it is full of hilarious one-liners and gags. Since John and Ted are children of the 80s, many of the jokes are full of nostalgia for the decade of Flash Gordon, Knight Rider, and Star Wars. Since they live Boston, many of the best lines make fun of New England girls. Throughout the film, the laughs are continuous and strong.
Ted is the directorial film debut of Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the animated TV shows Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show. In Ted, he expands on the style of slapstick and brash humor that made his television shows popular. And Ted is voiced by MacFarlane, who is no stranger to voicing non-human characters in his animated shows – Brian Griffin, the dog, in Family Guy, Roger, the alien, in American Dad, and Tim the Bear in The Cleveland Show.
Many comedies are full of jokes that audiences laugh at because they know they’re supposed to laugh, even if the punchlines are expected. Those movies usually hit a lull somewhere in the middle or near the end when the absurdity or comedy becomes dull. Ted is not one of those films. The jokes are original and great. The laughter is sustained throughout the hour and 40-minute feature. For his directorial debut, MacFarlane created one of the funniest movie of the year.