There is a general fear about cartoon shows or their concepts when putting to the big screen, a fear that the humor or colorful characters would fail to translate properly into human form and jeopardize the sanctity of all things fictive and funny. Surprisingly, Seth MacFarlane’s, Ted, does not obliterate that notion, and instead delivers a heartfelt comedy that compliments the typical Macfarlane trademark of obscure humor and unlikely circumstances.

 

There is a general fear about cartoon shows or their concepts when putting to the big screen, a fear that the humor or colorful characters would fail to translate properly into human form and jeopardize the sanctity of all things fictive and funny. Surprisingly, Seth MacFarlane’s, Ted, does not obliterate that notion, and instead delivers a heartfelt comedy that compliments the typical Macfarlane trademark of obscure humor and unlikely circumstances.

Teddy is a miracle and a curse to John Bennett’s (Mark Wahlberg) life; as a child, Bennett was the neighborhood outcast and suffered from the isolation. He received a teddy bear one Christmas and names it Teddy (Ted for short, voiced by Seth MacFarlane). One night, Bennett so happened to make a wish for Teddy’s true everlasting friendship as a shooting star zoomed past the sky. Lo and behold, Teddy suddenly comes to life the following morning, and Bennett finally gets the friendship he’s always wanted.

Fast forward two decades, numerous of articles and television appearances later, the sensation surrounding Ted’s miracle story has subsided, however his and Bennett’s friendship remains strong. Ted is the epitome of an ideal best friend, after all, he drives Bennett to work because he is the lesser of the inebriated, he empathizes about the fear of thunder storms, shares the same love for Flash Gordon, and his cuddly self is a plus.

However, now that Bennett is in his 30s and in a mature relationship with his lovely girlfriend, Lori Collins (Mila Kunis), it is clear that Ted may not be the most age appropriate friend for Bennett. Collins threatens to break up with Bennett if Ted continues to stay in the picture, and Bennett realizes that the ultimatum subsequently threatens his relationship with Ted. Now forced at an emotional crossroad, Bennett must decide: his bear or his love.

It’s a wonder how MacFarlane managed to keep Ted from falling under the creepy category of dolls-who’ve-come-alive, such as Chuckie or the Trolls. Yet, Ted is also much more than Peter Griffin in cuddly form. Perhaps it’s because Ted has a believable human nature to him and his character clearly develops over the course of the story just as Bennett and Collin’s character do. Ted experiences laughter, love and hurt just as much as Bennett and Collins. Altogether, their onscreen charisma is fantastic and after a while, Ted is no longer seen as just a stuffed animal.

It’s also worth mentioning that Wahlberg delivers yet another humorous and high-energy performance that is nicely balanced by the adorable and sophisticated poise of Kunis.

The film is more than a story about a teddy bear coming alive, it’s about the friendship of two male characters developing through the trials of life and it’s about sacrificing for love. Who would have thought that something such innocent and simple as the concept of a teddy bear can be so complex?

Rating: R
Running Time: 106 min




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