Box office: Ted
Directed by Seth MacFarlane
Opens Oct. 3 in Korea
Thomas Bertram Lance, the director of the Office of Management and Budget in President Jimmy Carter’s 1977 administration, is widely attributed with coining the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
One writer/director who seems to have taken this phrase to heart more than most is Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the hugely successful sitcom “Family Guy,” where the leading male character is friends with a dog that can talk. He then made the sitcom “American Dad!,” where the leading male character is friends with an alien that can talk. Now, MacFarlane has decided to leave his comfort zone and come up with new and original ideas for the big screen in the shape of “Ted.” This is a film in which Mark Wahlberg plays the leading male character, who is best friends with a teddy bear – that can talk.
Marky Mark plays John Bennett, who, as a 7-year-old boy, made a wish upon a star for his new, favorite teddy bear to become real so they could stay best friends forever. His wish is heard, granting Ted, voiced by MacFarlane himself, the gift of life. However, as John gets older, so does Ted, who becomes a pot-smoking, beer-drinking, foul-mouthed womanizer. What once seemed like a magical relationship destined for the history books turns into the adult/bear equivalent of “Beavis and Butthead.” However, this relationship is also damaging the only thing John loves more than Ted, which is his girlfriend Lori, played by “Family Guy” star Mila Kunis. John is forced to choose between his best friend for life and the love of his life.
I had been interested in seeing Ted for a long time, as I got several laughs from the red-band trailer alone, but wondered whether it would simply be an overly long episode of “Family Guy” or if MacFarlane would be able to leave his comfort zone and craft a solid film. The answer is both. Fans of “Family Guy” will be pleased to know that the brand of humor is the same, with crass jokes and pop culture references aplenty. The show’s recognizable comedic flashbacks are also included. Yet MacFarlane still manages to craft some semblance of a narrative structure, albeit a flimsy one that is simply a vehicle for the next fart, fat or dick joke.
In some ways, “Ted” could be considered a deeply philosophical film asking the question: “What does it mean to be human?” And in some ways, “Ted” could also be considered a modern-day, coming-of-age story about a boy who is forced to look inside his soul and choose between his past and his future. However, considering it features the quote “Fuck you thunder! You’re just God’s farts!” — in some ways … it probably couldn’t.