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A downright hilarious R-rated comedy with a lot of heart
on June 29, 2012
When you grow up with a woman who makes teddy bears by hand and sells them for a living, they kind of become that extra member of the family. As a child, there were times when the bears would be in positions or places that weren't where they were thought to have been left. Our theory was that whenever we weren't around, whether it was if we left the house or went to bed or whatever, the bears would get up and throw parties when we weren't around. So any movie that features something like a living teddy bear that can talk probably resonates a bit more on this end than for the average person.
"Ted" pretty much already had that nostalgic factor to it with the concept alone. While Seth MacFarlane doesn't always hit it out of the park with each episode of "Family Guy," "American Dad," or "The Cleveland Show," when he does get it right it's something special; it's hilarious, it's emotional, and its references are spot-on. "Ted" is MacFarlane at his best. The trademarks he's known for are all in there whether it's the incredible music that is heavily Frank Sinatra inspired, the ridiculous movie and pop culture references, or the humor that always seems to take a flying leap over whatever the accepted standard might be; it's all in the stuffing/inner workings of "Ted." The only difference is this is a different medium; a different plane for MacFarlane to bring his offbeat humor and influences into.
The spin MacFarlane puts on a familiar story is what makes everything so good. Of course, hearing Patrick Stewart as the narrator is a pretty great way to start any movie. There are a few surprises in "Ted" that are worth keeping that way. There's this huge emphasis on "Flash Gordon" that results in some really memorable sequences.
By now, you've probably heard the thunder song that John and Ted sing whenever a thunderstorm hits. It's still funny no matter how many times you hear it. Giovanni Ribisi was the best part of last year's "The Rum Diary" and he always seems to show up when you least expect him to like in "Avatar" or "Public Enemies." He has the most hilarious sequence he's ever been a part of in "Ted." It'll be difficult not to think of this particular scene whenever you see him from now on.
"Ted" is an R-rated comedy first and foremost, but it also crams a lot of heart into its 106-minute run time. The strain that's put on both the relationship between John and Ted and John and Lori's relationship results in the last twenty or so minutes of the movie being purely emotional. So while you'll more than likely remember the movie for the farting scene at the restaurant, the dirty fozzy scene at the grocery store, or the most amazing hotel room brawl involving a teddy bear that you've ever seen, "Ted" is secretly setting you up for that tight feeling in your chest when that pull string on your heart is tugged a little too hard.
"Ted" is the best thing Mark Wahlberg has been a part of since "The Fighter." It also gives the impression that Seth MacFarlane is still in the upswing of his prime and still has a lot to offer to anyone who's a fan of comedy in general. With its magnificently rich score, flawless use of CG, heartfelt sucker punch neatly tucked away at its core, and endless barrage of references and foul mouthed and vulgar humor, "Ted" gives "21 Jump Street" a run for the funniest R-rated comedy of the year. In fact, it may even get your vote as the best comedy of the year. It's like 2012's secret weapon for comedy at least until we can get our hands on an Apache helicopter.