“The Funniest Since 'Borat,' And This Is Just A Teddy Bear.”
July 17th, 2012
Seth McFarlane supposedly had to make the two "Family Guy: Star Wars" sequels to get permission to take the time to go ahead with this film, but that could just be opening crawl jabber. In any case, Universal allowing Seth to go ahead with this project as a first timer in feature films proved to be the best decision for comedy in many years.
Once upon a christmas, a young lonely boy wished that his teddy bear would come to life, and twenty-seven years later, John Bennet (Mark Whalberg) and Ted (Seth McFarlane) get along famously as deadbeat roommates who get drunk, high, and watch movies in their spare time. This doesn't bode well for John's girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis), whom after four years of dating John has finally accepted that there is no future with him so long as Ted is around. Enter the ultimatum: Her or Ted.
This leads us into a slough of comical events which really have nothing to do with the plot. In fact, the whole film runs very much like the first act of an episode of "Family Guy" (1999-present) in which a short story centering around one eccentric idea is told in its entirety before ending with the opening of the plot of the episode which takes up acts two and three. Given this setup and the simple plot I outlined above, it allows for random things to continually spur the audience through the movie, which more or less centers on the first real developments in Ted and John's relationship, as John is attempting to be a mature thirty-five year old adult for the first time in his life. But geeking out over Sam Jones doesn't exactly prove to Lori that he's ready for the ultimate commitment.
What makes this film work is that storytelling format, and the undeniable comic timing that Mark Whalberg and Seth McFarlane have with each other. I'd never really pictured Whalberg to be a good fit for such a film, and apparently he didn't either. Luckily the script won him over cause I can't think of anyone else who could've pulled this off and made it just as funny. For the fact that Whalberg isn't known for comedies brings something fresh to the project, as we're not going into this knowing exactly the type of humor we're going to get. Well, apart from all the '80s pop culture references and racial stereotypes which are familiar to "Family Guy" fans and the completely random cutaways which are redesigned here as very random jokes. But you get the point.
Overall, Seth McFarlane has crafted his most hilarious and vulgar piece of work yet, and he proves to be the master at anthropomorphic characters as he makes something of them rather than parading them around as being cool simply because they are anthropomorphic. The comic timing is worth it alone, and even if you're not familiar with the references, you'll get the context enough to find it funny. The only thing I'd say needed tuning up was the climax, for while the setup and context was funny, the humor ran out long before the climax did, for you can only laugh at the same scenario for so long. But other than that, the film was a spot on perfect comedy. It's the best one I've seen since "Borat" (2006), and there were a lot of comedies in the interim.