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It seems that "Family Guy" creator Seth McFaralane's directorial debut is quite the polarizing comedy. For the most part, critics overwhelmingly love (3.5 out of 4 stars from Roger Ebert! Are we in a bizarro universe?) or despise the film. However, it should be noted that even the naysayers recommend the film for those who are fans of McFarlane's other work ("Family Guy", "American Dad!", "The Cleveland Show"). If that was not the case, and McFarlane failed at delivering McFarlane-funny, then clearly nobody would be recommending this film for anyone.
But that's not the case, and Ted, whose titular character even shares the voice of Peter Griffin, has the comedic stylings like a live-action episode of the latter's show. You should definitely not take your kids to see this film, but nobody should be surprised that this type of humor does well at the box office. The crass and crude has been popular in the mainstream since There's Something About Mary. It may be low-brow, offensive, un-artistic, and "cheap", but how could "Ted" not be funny? I personally think that some of these hoity-toity critics are lying when they say it wasn't funny, and in truth, they can't bring themselves to use their fancy degrees and serious reputations to support a weed-smoking, foul-mouthed teddy bear. So good on ya', Roger Ebert!
Without further ado, here is the review roundup for the film. Share your opinion below once you've seen "Ted"!
Score: 3.5 out of 4
The funniest movie character so far this year is a stuffed teddy bear. And the best comedy screenplay so far is "Ted," the saga of the bear's friendship with a 35-year-old manchild. I know; this also was hard for me to believe. After memories of Mel Gibson's bond with a sock puppet, "Ted" was not high on the list of movies I was impatient to see.
Score: 3 out of 4
MacFarlane's debut as a feature director hits all the sweet spots that irritate prudes. Is it dirty? Yes. Does it take full advantage of the R rating? Oh my yes. Is it funny? It's hysterically, gut-bustingly funny.
Score: 3 out of 4
If you’re a fan of MacFarlane’s animated TV empire — the long-running “The Family Guy” and its various iterations — you’ll know to expect cheerfully smutty gags and smart pop-culture throwaways. “Ted” just increases the verbal filth. It’s remarkably inoffensive for all that, although anyone who takes a child to this just because there’s a teddy bear on the poster should have their head examined.
Score: 3 out of 4
"Ted" is at its best when Ted is at his worst. The disparity between the innocence such a toy is meant to represent and the utter wrongness of his every action provides a pretty consistent source of hilarity. But much of the material works because the bear has someone to bounce off of; Wahlberg does his best work in situations like this, where he's playing it totally straight in a setting that's totally silly.
Score: 3 out of 4
Will it make you wince with embarrassment? That’s a promise. Will you also laugh? In double-time, like a Rockette. I don’t want to see a string of sequels about Ted, who has now worn out his welcome, like Bonzo. But one time around this summertime sandbox has left me cooled off, like a hydrant spray in a heat wave, and limp with laughter.
Not too many films serve up laughs that just keep on rolling with regularity from beginning to end, but Seth MacFarlane's directorial debut does so and without any feeling of strain. There's admittedly something a bit weird about the premise that might keep away some viewers who would otherwise belly up for a good gross comedy, but the comedy quotient is more than high enough to prompt upbeat word-of-mouth and solid summer business.
Thought It Was Okay
Fans of the MacFarlane thumbscrew touch — sexual raunch, vulgarity, gleeful political incorrectness, mocking pop culture references — get what they pay for here. The bear is aggressively boorish. John is a poster schlub for arrested development. A slapdash subplot involving bearnapping (and Giovanni Ribisi) adds nothing. The picture looks schlubby too — all muddy colors, bad interior decor, hectic pacing, and joyless scenes in which this clunky, inexpressive CG-animated fuzz-toy goes postal.
The best thing in the movie is MacFarlane’s clever underpinning of the talking plush toy’s snarky-motormouth personality: with a shrewd and encyclopedic outpouring of pop-culture references, he renders the absurd conceit reasonable and funnels Ted’s story into the universal drama of a Hollywood has-been. It’s the comedy that never comes to life— the heavy-handed gags all but invite a laugh track— and a sentimental dénouement at Fenway Park is done by number. The movie’s stuffing of creative smarts is still inert.
Score: 1.5 out of 4
But seriously, this is Sandler-level swill, and if MacFarlane’s TV crowd shows up, sober (hopefully), they may just see that the naughty animator, and not just his stupid bear, have no clothes.
Score: 2 out of 4
There is really only one joke in “Ted” — a toy bear comes to life and turns out to have a filthy mouth and a taste for weed — but the movie’s attempts at humor can nonetheless be sorted into a few distinct categories. There are jokes that are funny only because a stuffed bear says them, jokes that are not funny even though a stuffed bear says them and jokes that may or may not be funny because of Mark Wahlberg.
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