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  • Jared Huizenga

Ted Review: With Friends Like This ...

Ted is just like the best friend each and every one of us has … if our best friends smoke too much pot, swear incessantly and are Teddy bears brought to life by our wishes.

But that is exactly what faces John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his girlfriend Lori Collins (Mila Kunis) in “Ted.”

As a friendless child, John made a wish that Ted – a Christmas present from his parents – was real. Through the magic of the universe, John’s dream came true.

Fast forward 27 years and John and Ted (voiced by “Family Guy” honcho Seth MacFarlane) remain the best of friends, ditching work, drinking beer, smoking pot and obsessing over cheesy 80s movies – namely, “Flash Gordon.”

While the two still have tons of fun together and are content with their places in the world, Lori – who has suffered through four years of John’s immaturity – is looking for John to grow up, become his own man and stop spending so much time with his old pal.

But as most of us know, cutting ties with the past is difficult … especially when an old pal is in trouble.

From the moment I saw the first trailer for “Ted” I was instantly drawn to it – MacFarlane is an incredibly funny guy, the idea of a vulgar Teddy bear for some reason appeals to me and, let’s be honest, Mila Kunis is about as gorgeous as it gets in Hollywood.

My expectations were quite high and, fortunately, “Ted” not only lived up to, but also exceeded, those expectations.

I can’t say enough good things about MacFarlane as a comedic presence. Obviously, he’s responsible for “Family Guy,” but “Ted” is also his brainchild – writer, director, producer and voice actor. Some of the humor on display here is much like you’d find in “Family Guy” – stereotyping America’s Northeast region, pop culture references galore, etc. – but this movie allows him to reach areas he can’t in his regular prime time TV slot. It’s “toilet humor” – for lack of a better term – but it’s well done toilet humor (if that’s possible).

Wahlberg – typically not one of my favorite actors – also impressed me quite a bit. It’s not often that an actor best known for action roles can smoothly transition to comedy … do you remember “Stop, Or My Mom Will Shoot” or “Kindergarten Cop?” He shows a willingness to branch out and doesn’t appear to take himself too seriously, which I like. He’s not likely to carry a comedic film on his own, but as part of a larger ensemble, he does a fine job here.

The highlight of the cast for me, however, was Giovanni Ribisi, who plays an obsessed Burt Reynolds meets Buffalo Bill stalker determined to get close to Ted. Ribisi plays weird well … sometimes a little too well.

Also, did I mention how hot Mila Kunis is? Well, she can act a little bit, too. I view Lori as a toned down version of Jackie Burkhart (her character in “That ‘70s Show”) – a gal that wants her boyfriend to grow up and take her and life more seriously. The most important part – she’s believable in a movie where you have to use a lot of imagination.

Overall, I’d have to say “Ted” is one of the best R-rated comedies to come down the pipeline in quite a long time. It’s original, it’s vulgar without being disgusting and, most importantly, it’s a lot of fun.

I say grab some beers and your buddies and spend a couple hours ignoring the fact that some day some evil woman will try to make you grow up.

★★★ of ★★★★★


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