As a child, John Bennett (Mark Whalberg) was a Loner with no friends, until one day he gets a teddy bear for Christmas and wishes him to life. 27 years later, John and Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) are still best friends. They do everything together: get high, watch Flash Gordon and get high. But John is now in a relationship and his friendship with Ted will be put to the test after his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) gets tired of the relationship going nowhere and challenges John to grow up.
The funniest film of 2012 is Ted. Hands down, case closed and done.
Seth MacFarlane has created a situation in this live action film where he is able to use the bizarre humour of his animated shows and make it work in a real setting, and it’s all down to Ted. He is the gatekeeper between the two worlds, and he straddles them with ease. Macfarlane doesn’t go as far as he does in Family Guy (no fighting chickens…only a fighting duck): there are less cutaway gags and random absurdity, which helps the film more than hinders it. 90 minutes of that style could stretch quite thin. But FG fans don’t fret; there is some genius silliness on display. A crucial scene in the film involves John ditching his girlfriend at a work get-together to party with his childhood hero, Flash Gordon. The scene is a masterwork of taking an idea and pushing it to its preposterous limits. It’s hysterical.
It’s the commonness of the dialogue, coming from a talking teddy bear, which elevates the film. Another writer could have made (and have made, many times over) a very similar story and used an actor for Ted. I can easily imagine, say, Zack Galifianakis in Ted’s role, and the film would have been funny, but Ted (with MacFarlane’s baritone Bostonian voice) makes it hilarious. Mark Whalberg fills the role of the dumb but lovable best friend with ease, as does Mila Kunis as his beautiful girlfriend with whom he is inexplicably linked, and Giovanni Ribisi is perfectly cast as Ted’s biggest fan (his hip movements are a revelation!), but this is Ted’s film, and long live Ted.