For the first time in a while, I went to the cinema by myself. Gillian has let her Cineworld card expire and mine only runs for another week or so. Too many gigs coming up, and one extra munchkin in the house to look after! My first solo film was supposed “gross-out” comedy:
“Death to Ming!”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: Man lives with magic teddy bear who’s a bit of a bad influence on him, but has to split up his lifelong friendship to keep his girlfriend happy
You can see the plot above. It’s just a play on an old favourite; a well-meaning guy caught up between single life with his best friend (who in this case just happens to be a sentient teddy bear) and moving forward with his long-term girlfriend. So far, so “seen it all before” although it’s not a bad riff on the basic scenario. Beneath all the foul language and sex jokes is a decent enough story.
Seth MacFarlane directs, script-writes, motion-captures himself and voices
Peter Griffin Ted. If he were a live action character he’d be played by Zac Galafikinoiwsis. Galafikinosos. Galak… the fact dude with the beard. Or Seth Rogen. You know, the other fat guy with the beard. Mark Wahlberg, complete with rather bizarre accent, plays John – a car rental employee who’s managed to land himself a rather hot and high-flying girlfriend played by Mila Kunis. She, in turn, is being hunted down by herÂ misogynistÂ rich payboy boss Rex (Joel McHale from TV’sÂ Community). Added into the mix is a rather manic Giovanni Ribisi who is on a misson to capture Ted for his own little boy and you have a couple of little plot threads.
The humour is, generally, gutter-level. If you don’t like bad language orÂ euphemismsÂ for female genetalia (or jokes about poo, visual sexual humour, off-colour comments about race, flippant remarks about terrorist atrocities…) don’t come in. Go and see Batman again or something. Having said that, I didn’t get quite the kick out of it that I did with the aforementionedÂ Bad Santa that genuinely did have me bent over, laughing so hard that I couldn’t breathe at points.
It’s not thatÂ Ted isn’t as funny, it’s just that there’s no continuousÂ bam-bam-bamÂ joke after joke after slap after punch after off-colour-remark that Billy Bob Thornton‘s hastily-buried (by the studio – they hated it) classic managed. Aside from a couple of moments it also seems to lack the shock value, too. Perhaps I’m jaded.Â Bad Santa was very novel for its time. Since then, we’ve had the likes ofÂ Family Guy, American Dad!Â andÂ The Cleveland Show on TV plus a fair number of bad taste comedies in the cinema.
What really did makeÂ Ted for me was the nostalgia and references to the 1980’s, plus all the little in-jokes and guest appearances. Without giving any plot details away (I hope): Ted Danson in a fake Cheers DVD extra; Ryan Reynolds in a non-speaking walk-on; Sam J. Jones as Sam J. frickin’Â Flash Gordon Jones.
If there was a sad moment, it was the realisation that – judging by the type of laughter in the theatre at the relevant moment – I was on the only person in there who’d seen the originalÂ Airplane! film. Good grief.
Having a brief review at some of the reviews (a handful linked below), some have said in harsher terms what I would agree with. As a comedy it’s just not funny enough. What jokes and situations there are do hit the mark – I don’t think there’s a single fall-flat effort in there – but there aren’t enough of them.
It doesn’t detract too much from an otherwise decent film and as I said at the start at least it’s got a decent story, so you’re not sat there twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next fart joke with nothing to concentrate on. Just don’t go in expecting to be in rib-wracking pain and you should come back out having enjoyed the ride.
- A Plush Bear Stuffed With Crap. Ted, Reviewed. [Grierson & Leitch] (deadspin.com)
- Film Review: Ted (thesweetuniverse.wordpress.com)
- We Watched Ted So You Don’t Have To. (popcultureatemymonkey.com)
- Ted, review (telegraph.co.uk)
- TED review (noframeof.com)
- Movie review: Ted (o.canada.com)
- MOVIE REVIEW: Ted delivers cheap laughs, Family Guy style (tech.mit.edu)