How many of you out there have held that one special toy in your life and looked hard into its eyes and wished upon that one special star for it to be alive? Probably just about every single little boy and girl out there has done that. The connection we have with our toys is immeasurable, and something that no one can tell us isn’t as real as the connection we have with the family and friends around us as children. So what if when you made that wish one night it actually came true? What if your special toy came to life the very next day?
So naturally that toy coming to life when you’re just a little boy is totally cute. You’ve got a childlike toy who just wants to be friends and play. Now fast-forward to more than 25 years later and the little boy who’s made that wish, John (Mark Wahlberg), and his toy friend Ted (voice of Seth MacFarlane) haven’t really grown up at all. In fact, Ted is your foul-mouthed talking toy.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like when Ted comes to life it goes totally unnoticed. Quite the contrary. Ted becomes a 15-minute celebrity. He appears on Johnny Carson, gets noticed on the streets, does interviews, etc.. I mean, when a toy comes to life like “the baby Jesus” as they say in the movie, people do take notice. But as with all fads, his fame fades away, but his friendship to John remains as loyal as ever.
John on the other hand has grown up, has a job, though not the best one. He does have a girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis) but is interested in smoking pot and hanging with his best buddy Ted every chance he gets. In fact, the scenes with Kunis are vastly underused. She wants him to start acting like an adult, but he would rather just hang out. It’s your typical storyline that we’ve seen a million times.
But what makes Ted watchable is the MacFarlane humor. There is a great flashback to when John and Lori first met told first from Lori’s perspective and then from John’s. It’s reminiscent of the movie Airplane! and completely works here!
MacFarlane surprisingly though keeps the raunchiness down to a minimum in this film though. I expected a lot more from him and expected him to be crossing the line many more times than he did in the film but he does his best to keep the film as much of a family like film as possible. I’m not saying it’s a family film, but considering where this film could have wound up to where it is, this film is mild by comparison.
MacFarlane does a good job voicing Ted. He gives the bear a heart and makes us feel for Ted when he’s scared and we truly believe that he has an unbreakable bond with John. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for John, including what he must do as the film enters its third and final act to see John become who he must be.
Everyone wants to hold onto that part of ourselves that we have when we’re children. No one wants to really grow up completely. But we all have to at some point. Ted shows us that while we have to grow up, there’s still a place for our toys in our lives no matter how old we get.
FINAL GRADE: B –
Reel Film News Movie Review by Bill Ayres