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TED- Not your average, overhyped, stuffed bear film
by Paul Gonzales
Jul 05, 2012 | 1378 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — Like a cross between Snuggles and Teddy Ruxben, “Ted,” the main star of “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane’s feature film debut, is cute and cuddly when a friendless young boy wishes him to life on Christmas Day in the opening minutes of the film.

Ted quickly becomes a pseudo-child celebrity and hits the talk circuit, complete with a Johnny Carson appearance and is all over the news as the boy and his bear vow to never leave each other’s side.

Then, as many childhood stars usually fall from grace and delve in to debauchery and get busted for drugs, so does Ted as he fades from the spotlight and becomes, well, a pot smoking, alcoholic curse spewing, bitter version of his former stuffed self.

But he and his now adult best friend, Mark Wahlberg, have never left each other’s side.

And thus the crux for the plot centering around Walhberg’s character’s girlfriend of four years, played with remarkable, down-to-earth charm by Mila Kunis, wanting her man-child boyfriend to grow up and leave his adolescent ways behind, may also involve leaving his beloved teddy bear to fend for himself.

Wahlberg weaves through the comedy with such bravado goofiness that it’s a wonder why Ted is only his second comedic role to date.

What seemed like a strange casting choice at first quickly pays off in the opening credits as we see Wahlberg, in his early 20s, dressed as Darth Maul waiting in line to see “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.”

Wahlberg does his best to keep the absurdity of some of the situations grounded in as much reality as possible even though the title character is, in fact, a walking, talking stuffed bear.

Kunis’ character is basically the girl that every guy wishes was his girlfriend as she works at an upscale job, is smoking hot and makes all the money, leaving Wahlberg’s character and Ted to goof around and smoke pot whenever they get a chance.

But the real star is Ted. A computer-generated bear voiced and acted out by MacFarlane via motion capture.

His sly wit and potty mouth were probably the reason people showed up to theaters in droves to make it the third-highest rated R movie opening of all time, grossing over 50 million dollars.

That and he sounds like Peter Griffin from “Family Guy.”

MacFarlane the writer essentially wrote an hour and a half “Family Guy” episode, with what seems to be every ’80s pop reference from MacFarlane’s childhood thrown in for good measure. Not to mention a ton of special guest stars just to prove that he can get whoever he wants to come in and play in his house.

Including, but not limited to, a hilarious Sam Jones (aka Flash Gordon) segment that must be seen to be believed.

MacFarlane the director seemed to be having a blast filming “Ted,” using every dollar he garnered from Hollywood to put in everything he could never get away with on network television.

After years of directing episodes of “Family Guy,” he seems to have made the transition in to film with ease. Though it’s no “Godfather” or “Apocalypse Now,” his filming style gets the job done effectively enough to make you believe this could actually happen.

The movie as a whole is basic in its plot; boy has friend, boy meets girl, girl tries to put up with friend, boy must choose girl or friend, something sad happens, everything gets resolved, end.

But it’s the amazing chemistry between Wahlberg, Kunis and the digital bear that make the movie a must see.

That and the fact that the main character is a walking, talking version of your drunken uncle.

It’s a hysterical romp of a bromantic comedy that shows a glimmer of heart from time to time, and it’s all the actors that really bring the story of a talking stuffed animal to life.

Just make sure you keep the kids at home.

“Ted” is now showing at Rio 6 Cinemas.

Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.
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