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December 11, 2012

On DVD/Blu-ray – Review: Ted (2012)

by NIR SHALEV

As a young boy, John Bennett once received a Christmas gift of a teddy bear. He loved his teddy bear very much, and one night he made a wish that he’d become a real best friend. Well, the following morning his teddy bear was able to walk on its own and talk. John’s parents freaked out and held up kitchen knives. But after a few seconds, reality had kicked in and everyone was calm again.

Fast forward a few decades and John (Mark Wahlberg) is now a 30-something who works a dead-end job for a car rental company. He dates a beautiful, successful woman named Lori (Mila Kunis). Ted (voiced by writer/director Seth MacFarlane), his teddy bear/best friend, still lives with him. But Lori wants John to grow up. She wants Ted to move out and to hold down his own job and she wants John to face the harsh realities of the real world because she believes that marriage may exist in their near future.

Ted (the character) is awesome. Sure he drinks all the time, smokes dope, and casually brings prostitutes back to the apartment but he’s terrifically and consistently hilarious. He also curses something awful; he’d make a sailor blush. But he truly is the best friend that anyone could ask for, provided that one is still living at home with their parents. Watching him walk down the street next to a human is a true feat of magic. I couldn’t tell whether it’s CGI or an animatronics puppet that I was looking at.

Eventually there comes the moment when Ted does move and hold down a job at a grocery store; hilarity ensues. I’m not going to ruin the jokes but they are as dirty as they are funny. And even though Ted’s away, neither his nor John’s life get any easier. John competes against Lori’s tall, handsome boss, and Ted tries to fend off a creepy man who wants to kidnap him for his son.

This is Seth MacFarlane’s first feature film and first live-action project. After helming Family Guy for 11 seasons, American Dad for nine seasons, and The Cleveland Show for four seasons, his first real Hollywood venture is a really good one. Ted is consistently funny and equal parts crude, it’s shot and lit well enough to be compared to Hallmark Christmas cards, and it’s easy on the eyes. The camera moves every so often and is almost never handheld, and the shot compositions play it safe. It’s nice to see that a man who’d never worked in a live-action medium can produce a good looking product; however, the downside is that it’s also visually equivalent to a high-budget TV program.

I’m looking forward to Seth Macfarlane’s next venture and hope that it’ll have, at least, as interesting a concept as Ted does.

The special features include both Theatrical and Unrated Cuts of the film; an Audio Commentary; The Making of Ted; Deleted Scenes; Teddy Bear Scuffle; Alternate Takes; and a Gag Reel.

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