★ ★ 1/2
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis and Giovanni Ribisi. Written by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesly Wild. Directed by Seth MacFarlane
Media darling, Seth MacFarlane transfers his juvenile style of comedy to the big screen in Ted, a story about a living teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane) who continuously gets in the way of his best friend's life. Judging by the premise, you'd think this film to be completely senseless – and after seeing it, you'll no doubt feel justified in that judgement. A teddy bear coming to life isn't even what's difficult to accept, it's the fact that the audience is supposed to find this gag wildly entertaining for the duration of the film. The movie has no other comedic component – the talking teddy bear is it, and it simply isn't enough. Sure, he makes a lot of pop culture references, smokes weed and swears a lot, but it all falls flat without proper pacing, relevance and sincerity. This film is a fine example of lazy comedy writing at its worst and lacks any cleverness or subtlety. There are times when watching where you actually feel like you're on the outside of an inside joke – too many Flash Gordon references and best friend songs become unbearable.
While John (Wahlberg) and Laurie (Kunis) have a solid light-hearted chemistry between each other as a couple trying to progress their relationship, it's Ribisi's small role as the twisted villain, Donny who brings any real comedy to the film. His performance is genuinely weird and he's convincing as an insane hillbilly. Unfortunately, any humor he creates is softened by Ted's tendency to point it out and make fun of something that's already funny on its own.
Ultimately, where it seems like Ted wants to be notorious for being shockingly crude and over-the-top, its only real crime is that it's boring and awkward and doesn't really take any risks as far as exploring new material or opening itself up to criticism. The pinnacle of its humor rests on conventional, crowd-pleasing jokes that come off more cutesy than crude – there's nothing daring about garnering cheap laughs by showing a teddy bear hit a bong. So, what you're left with is a formulaic story, peppered with a few chuckle-worthy moments.