Friday, July 6, 2012

Movie Review: Ted

For a slight change in my course, today I attempt a movie review, something I haven't done in a long time.

Ted, the freshman screenplay of Seth McFarlane, sea manatee at large, is just what I expected it to be.  Anyone who's a fan of Family Guy (or its sloppy seconds American Dad, or sloppy thirds The Cleveland Show) is already familiar with McFarlane's sense of humor.  In every 22 minute episode, maybe 5 minutes are dedicated to the plot itself.  The rest are cutaway gags, pop culture references, elongated dialogue that goes nowhere, or extended fight scenes.

Ted is no exception.  If you are already a fan of McFarlane (which I am), this movie is a must see.  No spoilers, this movie is chock full of enough pop culture geekdom to cause any Gen X fanboy to splooj in their pants.  And of course, the cameos, oh the cameos--Patrick Warburton, Patrick Stewart, Nora Jones, and others I will not spoil.

The plot:  Marky Mark flexes his comedic muscles as a manboy with a foul-mouthed, weed smoking, sex addicted teddy bear who's his best friend.  Now in this one he does manage to keep his shirt on most of the time; but there are plenty of fight scenes!  After all, what is Marky Mark if he keeps his shirt and pants on?  He still loves getting into fights.  And of course, plenty of breaking-the-fourth-wall references to his very pronounced New England accent (Spoiler Alert:  Ted making fun of how Boston girls sound when they're having an orgasm).

Those who have seen the previews know the basic plot.  Marky Mark is John Bennett, a 30-something used car salesman who has almost nothing redeeming about himself except for (a) his charming good looks (he is constantly referred to by girls who are way out of his league as the best looking in New England), and (b) his girlfriend Lori.

Lori is played by Mila Kunis, who in this movie is also doing what she does best.  She is so good at being the good looking nag, that many find it hard to believe that she was cast as Meg Griffin.  So in this movie, she plays an executive at some automotive company, one who's making too much money and of too high social status to be dating Marky Mark.  And she's always being hit on by her boss, a true-to-form Ryan Seacrest lookalike, total obvious I'm-sexy-and-you-know-it douchebag.  And yet Lori continuously spurns his advances.

And so, the very cliched bromance triangle.  John Bennett must now choose between his best friend and his girlfriend.  So naturally, Lori manages to flit between total ballbuster to concerned female partner who simply wants her partner to GROW UP!  She ends up convincing Ted to move out on his own and get a job.  But John still sneaks away to smoke weed with Ted, miss work, spend less time with Lori, and get himself in huge trouble!

This movie is not one of those that will make any new McFarlane fans.  It is a great first attempt at a movie for a man who's already accomplished so much.  Right now, he pretty much rules Fox's Sunday night lineup. But as far as movies go, he could have taken it much further than he did.  The plot seemed a bit too undeveloped.  True to his form, the plot was definitely secondary to the gags, slapstick, one-liners, and geek references.  Of course, the plot is a bit stronger than those early Family Guy episodes.  At least it is there.  I think Seth McFarlane has so much going for him as a writer.  I hope he continues to make movies, and if he makes a another one, it's much stronger than this one was.

So to answer the question, is this movie worth seeing?  For those who love Family Guy, HELL YEAH!  For those who watch it once in a while, wait till you can Netflix it.  For those who hate Family Guy, er, see it but be like Statler and Waldorf the whole time...

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