Although much less family-friendly, Ted reminded me a lot of Elf. It started and ended with the narration of an adorable tale (voiced by Patrick Stewart, who ended up getting off on some very hilarious tangents about Apache Helicopters and Justin Bieber); it had quirky, smooth jazz as its musical backdrop, thanks to composer Walter Murphy (whose style you might recognize from Family Guy); and there are so many one-liners that you can barely keep up (Yes, I will quote them for the next three months).
One of the reasons why Ted is so great is because of the actor cameos. Don’t get me wrong—the three main characters John (Mark Wahlberg), Lori (Mila Kunis), and Ted (Seth MacFarlane) were all fantastic, but the actor cameos were the best. Just to name a few: Patrick Warburton (Family Guy‘s Joe Swanson), Ryan Reynolds, Patrick Stewart, Joel McHale (host of E!’s The Soup), Alex Borstein (Family Guy‘s Lois Griffin), Giovanni Ribisi (My Name is Earl‘s Ralph Mariano), singer Norah Jones, Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon, himself), and Tom Skerritt (Top Gun‘s Viper). Trust me…you’re going to recognize at least three actors in these secondary characters roles, and you will laugh while doing so.
As expected with a movie written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, we get movie references galore! And, honestly, the best were the ones about Flash Gordon (1980). Hell, Sam J. Jones (who played Flash Gordon) even appears in the film (as I mentioned above). He shows up at one of Ted’s wild parties to hang out, take shots, and do coke with John and Ted, all while the Flash Gordon theme plays in the background; and when Ted’s neighbor, Ming (who looks similar to Flash’s nemesis Emperor Ming), shows up, well…you can only imagine what happens.
I have to admit, when I first saw the previews and read the plot for Ted, I was worried that it was going to end up being like Knocked Up (which, to this day, I absolutely loathe), where the douchey man-child acts like his girlfriend is a crazy bitch for wanting him to be more responsible and never actually changes.
And this plot had similarities—minus the magical, talking bear. You’ve got your Average-Joe who sits around getting high with his best friend instead of going to work while his hot girlfriend has a pretty great career and wants to settle down. She asks him to be more responsible; and when he doesn’t, they break up. I know some of you guys are probably thinking, “Oh, here she goes on some feminist rant.” No, it’s just that a good story has a character who grows. If they don’t grow, the story ends exactly the way it began, and then nobody gets anything out of it.
Thankfully, Seth MacFarlane realized this because his characters do change, which, of course, made me happy because it’s not like Knocked Up. But don’t worry, gentlemen. I know some of you don’t care about whether or not the man grows up and stops treating his girlfriend like she’s a nag. And that’s why there’s plenty of pot, tits, and fart jokes to keep you happy. Now, go masturbate while your mother makes you Spaghetti-Os.
Also, I’m not usually one for fart/poop jokes because, well, anything that has to do with fecal matter disgusts me. But the moment where I laughed the hardest in this movie was during a fart joke. While out on a double date with Ted and his white-trash girlfriend, John lets out a fart, and he and Lori try to see who it’ll hit first in the restaurant. When it hits these three businessmen, they instantly start screaming something along the lines of “OH, GOD! WHO DID THIS TO US?! WE ARE HERE ON BUSINESS!” I don’t know why, but it was just so funny. I’m quietly laughing right now as I write this because I’m thinking about it again.
The only real issue I had was that some of the pop culture jokes made in this movie seemed forced. Like the “Sorry, I was sending a tweet” line or the comment about how Katy Perry can’t sing for shit (which is true). I’ve been starting to notice this with Family Guy in the most recent seasons, too. It’s almost like Seth MacFarlane has so many projects going on at once with Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show, and now Ted that he doesn’t have time for better-crafted jokes. This is what happens when you get so busy pushing jokes on a regular basis that you end up using material that isn’t very original. Look what happened to Dane Cook. One minute, he was funny. The next, we were sick of hearing his jokes over and over.
Seth MacFarlane doesn’t need to make a joke about a celebrity in the news right now when he can whip out an off-the-wall Benjamin Disraeli joke (which is even funnier when the frat boys in the audience don’t get it). Why are you doing this to us, Seth? Are you getting paid by the joke now? It’s better to take your time and make a really good joke rather than rush to get as many little jokes in as possible.
Overall, I haven’t laughed this hard in a movie in a LONG time. And who would’ve thought that a movie about a magical, talking teddy bear would do that to me? You can tell that this movie was made more for male viewers (which was obvious by the previews before the movie), but I don’t see why female viewers wouldn’t like it. Really, you only need to have a sense of humor—and be 17 or older. I know some people aren’t into Seth MacFarlane, but I personally think this is one of those movies that will go down in movie quoting history with the likes of Anchorman: The Legend of Run Burgundy, Wedding Crashers, and The Hangover. Take your bros, take your hos…just don’t take your kids.