Monday, October 29, 2012

A Teddyful of laughs

(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, on 27 October, 2012, retrieved from http://newindianexpress.com/entertainment/reviews/article1315663.ece)



Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis, Patrick Stewart, Giovani Ribisi
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Rating: 4 stars
There’s something about an adult movie starring a teddy bear that gets you curious. But when it’s directed by the man who gave usFamily Guy, you simply have to watch it. Since the film released in India months after it hit theatres in America, it’s had time to become the ninth highest-grossing film of the year, the highest-grossing R-rated film of the year, and the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy film of all time.
Well, you see, Ted has all the ingredients of a good old rom-com – a good-looking manchild who appears to have a hot girlfriend without having a grown-up job, a hot girlfriend who’s jealous of the manchild’s roommate, a sleazy boss, a well-meaning ex-lover, an obnoxious father and son who will play antagonists, and a talking teddy bear...whaa?!
Seth MacFarlane’s genius in imbuing traditionally cute things with evil intentions was apparent enough through the Family Guycharacter of Stewie, whose dreams of world domination come second only to his desire for matricide. Here, Ted – whose voice and motion capture are done by Seth MacFarlane – is addicted to practically every vice we know of, and some we don’t. Like the fetish that gets him a promotion at his workplace. Yes, a teddy bear has a workplace.
The film had me when Patrick Stewart appeared as the narrator, using words I would pay once more to hear him use. With his digs at everything from computers to Corey Feldman, Stewart brings in the subtlety the film doesn’t otherwise care for. Ted is the story of a boy called John Bennett, who grows up to look like Mark Wahlberg. But as a kid, he’s so left-out and so lonely, he’d rather be bullied than ignored. And all he wants is a friend. Like a teddy-bear friend. Like a talking teddy-bear friend.
When we cross from 1985 to 2012, it’s a little bit like coming face to face with a grown-up Calvin and Hobbes, who party, drink, do drugs and have sex (with other people). The plot is as ridiculous as it’s impossible, and yet, it’s hilarious – the humour is gross at times, slapstick at times, and cruel at times. And it’s mostly about the lines that Ted spouts. This is the sort of film where you can relax, and hoot every time a teddy bear swears.
If you want more reasons to watch this film, it’s got Sam Jones (remember Flash Gordon?) and Norah Jones. Hell, it’s got Mary Jane and cocaine. When you’re not laughing at the cusswords, you’re laughing because the film’s satirising gauges of popularity at the workplace. And when you’re not laughing at the satire, you’re laughing because bewildered parents who muscled their way into an adult movie with their toddler are escorting it out as its squeaky voice wants to know what a series of expletives mean.
The Verdict: Ted is a treat for the sort of happily unhinged audience that loves Family Guy.

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