"Laugh-a-minute - and I don't mean a small chuckle, I'm talking full on belly laughter..."
Similarly to much of the nation, I am a Family Guy fan - and also similarly to much of the nation, I hold my hands up in admitting to having reservations about Seth MacFarlane - the brains behind the brilliant cartoon - dipping his toes into live-action cinema for the first time. However any such doubt has been immediately dispelled, as Ted is a brilliantly funny comedy that will have you in stitches from start to finish.
MacFarlane supplies the voice of Ted - a teddy bear that was magically brought to life following a wish made by a lonely young boy named John Bennett. A couple of decades on and the young boy is now a man (Mark Wahlberg), and Ted is still, well, Ted - a foul-mouthed, ill-mannered bear, who has somewhat of an inclination towards trouble, favouring a life made up mostly of women and drugs - and it's this very lifestyle that is beginning to get in the way of John's relationship with his long-term girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis).
Lori is hoping John will propose to her, but instead of focusing on their relationship, John spends much of his time lazing around smoking marijuana with Ted, and Lori, following a string of complaints, soon decides that she has had enough, and John is left with a difficult decision - to choose the woman of his dreams and love of his life - or Ted, his best friend in the whole wide world...
Ted is evidently a passion project for MacFarlane, dispelling any possibility he saw this as a mere attempt in making some more money on the side. There are countless pop culture references throughout to movies from his own childhood, such as the Indiana Jones trilogy, and, of course, Flash Gordon. MacFarlane comes across as a true cinephile and his passion and enthusiasm for film is obvious within this feature - especially as it becomes clear that the character of John is effectively based upon himself. Without the talking toy sidekick, of course.
Coming from the brilliantly witty mind of MacFarlane, there are always going to be similarities between Ted and Family Guy from a comedic sense, yet the two remain different enough to avoid the need to compare the two at any given opportunity. Having said this, there is a prolonged, overstated fight scene between John and Ted, but that was always a given. The said scene is, however, one of the funniest in the film.
When you go to see a comedy you just want to laugh, and that is where Ted comes out on top, as, given the right setting and circumstances, it is laugh-a-minute - and I don't mean a small chuckle, I'm talking full on belly laughter. Bringing out the child in you, Ted is silly and offensive - yet MacFarlane is insulting to absolutely everyone, which deems it okay as no-one can come out of Ted feeling personally victimised. However all of the comedy could be undone if Ted doesn't actually seem real, but the effects are brilliant, and you never once doubt he is a real talking-bear, and it's this suspension of disbelief that provides so much comedy, as we need to believe in Ted to fully understand and appreciate him.
To complement the more funny side to Ted, is an actual endearing narrative, and although following somewhat of a traditional romantic-comedy story of a couple's relationship on the rocks due to one half's lack of commitment towards the cause, it does so very well. Underneath everything John is a really well-meaning man who simply can't face growing up - and this film can appeal to the same audience who enjoyed Toy Story 3 - covering a similar theme of becoming an "adult". Ted is a film that may touch a nerve with a variety of people of a certain age who have to come to terms with the fact they can't be friends with their toys forever. Or in John's case, smoke weed with them.
Combining a very witty and offensive script, with a strong narrative and a host of good performances, Ted is a brilliantly enjoyable film, and certainly worth a trip to the cinema, even if the weather is lovely outside this summer. Ted is definitely a movie I'd like to see again at some point. And again. And probably again after that too. And... Oh you get the picture.