Note: I’m backdating this a bit just so it falls more inline with when I actually saw the movie. As I see more movies this summer, I’m going to try to do this more often. Thanks for reading!
After being thoroughly impressed by the movie adaptation of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and the upcoming slate of summer movies upon us, I have decided to do something that I did last year when I lived in Virginia. Every week, I would take a look at Rotten Tomatoes to help me decide which of the new movies out that week that I would see, unless there was a specific movie that I wanted to see that week. For the first couple of weeks this summer, there is only a movie a week that I really want to see. This appears to be the case with most weeks this summer, though as we get later into the summer that might change. And when you have a Friday like July 13th, when the only major movie release is the latest Ice Age movie, I’ll go back and find something that I missed that I want to check out while it is theaters.
The movie that I saw this weekend, which was something that I wanted to see, was Ted, the first live-action movie from Seth MacFarlane. For those that don’t know, MacFarlane is the man behind Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show for Fox, and many folks thought that Ted would simply be a live action version of those shows. Though I went into the movie not expecting something super awesome, it was disheartening to see such mixed reviews for the movie. After watching the movie, however, I walked away actually enjoying the movie more than I thought for various reasons. The premise of the story is this: a boy, John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) gets a teddy bear for Christmas but has no real friends. He goes to bed wishing for his teddy bear to be real, and he wakes up the next morning and, lo and behold, he’s real. Ted becomes super famous for a few years, but the story picks up with John and Ted living together, with John in a lucrative position at a rental car company and Ted smoking a bunch of weed. Somehow, John has a landed Lori (Mila Kunis) as his girlfriend despite living with his teddy bear. After four years, she wants their relationship to go to the next level, but feels that it won’t because of John’s relationship with Ted.
John and Ted decide that they can still be friends even if they don’t live together. Ted gets a job at a supermarket and even lands a girlfriend of sorts. John appears to be acting more like a grownup and everything is going well, until John repeatedly blows off Lori to go hang out with Ted (and Flash Gordon). John and Lori break up, and John and Ted get in a fight and break up, and it looks pretty bad for everyone involved. Throw in a sexually-harassing boss, a weird dad and kid, and the aforementioned Flash Gordon, and you have a movie that is heading towards a somewhat predictable ending. Nevertheless, a few quick turns away from what you think is happening and the movie turns into something different, and something different in a good way.
Strengths of the movie would have to include most of the jokes. None of them really fell flat, and by using cut scenes similar to Family Guy, they take a quick break from the movie and go for the quick jokes. My only one complaint would be the lack of a “Shut up, Meg” joke from Ted to Lori, but that might have just been a little too meta. Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis work as a couple and are pretty convincing. Small characters show up and are used well in small doses, including a brief (mute) appearance by Ryan Reynolds, as well as small parts from Family Guy universe voice actors like Patrick Warburton, Ralph Garman (Garmy Strong!) and Alex Borstein. It also includes a pretty kick ass narration from Patrick Stewart.
Looking back, I guess I don’t really have a lot of complaints about the movie. One small complaint would be the character’s ability to always find parking in the middle of Boston. It’s not that easy in real life. Just saying. Again, going into the movie, I wasn’t really expecting a lot from it, but I was still surprised how it turned out. I would recommend seeing the movie, though I don’t know if it is 100% necessary to see in theaters, but I would encourage you to support the movie in theaters, if only to encourage Seth MacFarlane to make more movies. As an opening effort, it bodes well for future offerings from him.
Until next time…