Seth MacFarlane's filthy feature debut is one of the comedies of the year
Anyone familiar with TV comedy Family Guy will know that Seth MacFarlane, the show’s creator, specialises in both hilarity and vulgarity. His first big screen outing Ted offers more of the same and is one of the comedies of the year.
Mark Wahlberg stars as good-natured John, a grown man still living with the potty-mouthed, bong-smoking, womanising teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish, and who is now threatening to place a strain on John’s relationship with his long-term girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis), especially once she delivers an ultimatum.
What ensues is a consistently inspired relationship comedy that successfully riffs on the bro-mance versus romance template by virtue of its zany central premise and the quality of its performances. Wahlberg is terrific as the endearing John, displaying faultless comic timing, while his relationship with the CGI Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) is utterly convincing. The two have an easy-going chemistry that gives rise to several laugh-out-loud verbal exchanges, whether firing insults or talking pop culture references. There’s strong support too from Kunis, suitably feisty as Lori, and Giovanni Ribisi, as a dark, eccentric and distant admirer of Ted.
And while the humour is refreshingly non-PC and often resolutely filthy (either sexual or toilet-based), it’s also intelligently crafted to not seem gratuitous and comes with enough heart to make you care, especially once things take a predictably more sensible direction towards the film’s conclusion. But this minor criticism aside, MacFarlane has created a lovable, unique adult comedy that bears comparison with the likes of Bad Santa for the way in which it makes laughing at things that are ‘wrong’ seem so right.
General release from Wed 1 Aug.