Directed by Seth MacFarlane
Nobody knows how to mix mocking irreverence, toilet humour and sentimentality for public consumption like Seth MacFarlane. The fact that Ted grossed over half-a-billion dollars worldwide is pretty clear evidence that the Family Guy and American Dad creator has an instinctual understanding of how much filth the average viewer can get behind. As long as adhering to "good old fashioned values" is the ultimate purpose, the defecation habits of cracked-out prostitutes and violence against children (as long as the brat deserves it) are just as fair game as the routine lambasting of easy pop-culture targets and random jokes based on bodily functions. Dancing on the cutting edge of popular bad taste is how MacFarlane manages to appear boundary pushing to those with traditional sensibilities and merely a surprisingly consistent purveyor of lowbrow impertinence to viewers accustomed to more thoughtful gross-out satire produced by the likes of South Park. Still, compared to cinematic peers like The Hangover and Wedding Crashers, Ted's mockery of nostalgia and the overt externalized metaphor for man-child syndrome that is the pot-smoking, trash-talking teddy bear (Seth MacFarlane), who's holding John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) back from taking on more responsibility in his work and domestic life, is pretty sharp writing. Despite intentions for John's significant other, Lori (Mila Kunis), to be more than "the traditional comedy girlfriend," she basically is. There's nothing unusual about presenting a one-dimensional female character as a forcibly nurturing influence trying to penetrate the insular boys club of a buddy comedy duo. But rather than comfortably identify with her significant other as two adults with shared interests might, she tries to participate in John and Ted's geeky wordplay, but doesn't quite appreciate the nuances and her only discernible objective is to mould John into the man she thinks he should be. Populist trappings aside, Ted is frequently riotous and maintains more narrative focus than any of MacFarlane's TV offerings. The Blu-Ray's bonus features include an obligatory "making of," but the regular congratulatory sound bites and technical details are spiced up by a wealth of alternate takes and flubs. There were enough shenanigans caught on film that this material isn't at all recycled from the separate collections of deleted scenes, alternate line readings and a gag reel, all of which contain moments as funny, or in a few cases funnier, than anything that appears in the theatrical cut. Speaking of, the unrated version is the obvious choice for anyone drawn to MacFarlane's brand of crude absurdity. A commentary track with the director, one of his co-writers and star Mark Wahlberg isn't as amusing as hoped, but it's entertaining to hear characters like Stewie Griffin chime in at random.
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